It was a long three year wait, but the Islanders finally revealed their new digs tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Players, fans were overjoyed not only because hockey season had finally returned, but because their team finally had a state of the art facility. But with all the pop and circumstance, there was still a hockey game to be played.
The night started off with the retired numbers from the Coliseum being revealed along with a touching tribute to the late legendary Al Arbour. Then, it was finally time to drop the puck.
The Islanders special teams got their first cracks of the season in the first. They were able to kill of the penalty, while the power play struggled failed as well. A minute, thirty into the power play, Artem Anisimov put the Hawks up on top scoring shorthanded, putting a backhander past Greiss. The Islanders offense had some good chances late in the period, but the score remained 1-0 after a period of play.
As the second commenced, the Islanders penalty kill went to work once again killing yet another Hawks power play. The Islanders took the momentum from the kill, and got on the board as the Captain John Tavares found a loose puck and fired it into the back of the net for the first regular season Islanders goal ever scored in their new home. Back and forth play continued throughout the period until Patrick Kane struck off a beautiful feed from Toews to regain the lead, and that would be how the second period would end.
Just under two minutes into the third, the Islanders evened the score when Marek Zidlicky threw one from the point that fooled Crawford to get his first as an Islander. The teams would trade chances to retake the lead, but the score was 2-2 after 60 minutes.
On to the first three on three overtime of the season and in team history, their was non stop action end to end until Nick Leddy got called two minutes for slashing. It didn’t take long for Chicago to take advantage. After a few crisp passes, Patrick Kane shot that ricocheted of Johnny Boychuk stick past Greiss giving the Hawks the 3-2 OT win.
Of note, the Islanders out shot and out hit the Blackhawks. Chicago went one for three on the power play, while the Islanders went zero for two. John Tavares and Marek Zidlicky both scored their first goals of the 2015-16 season, while three other players recorded their first point of the year.
If the Islanders want to avenge on their first loss of the season, they will get their chance tomorrow night when they head to the Windy City to face these same Blackhawks. Expect to see either Jean-Francois Berube get his first start as an Islander tomorrow, or Thomas Greiss play his second straight game.