The New York Islanders did not lose the game last night with 2:11 left, when Joe Pavelski tipped in Joe Thornton’s shot to give the San Jose Sharks the 3-2 win.
No, the Islanders lost this game when they sleepwalked through the first period.
Look, the Sharks are a good team and there is no shame in losing to the Western Conference Champions. However, the current owners of the Clarence Campbell trophy were ripe for the taking.
The played the night before, while the Isles had a day off. The Rangers dropped a 7-spot on them and rookie Aaron Dell was making his first NHL start.
“We were too slow at times and it cost us,” said Anders Lee, who had the Islanders second goal on the night. “Just playing catch-up all night. They were coming in off a back-to-back and they played smart. We just didn’t.”
As mentioned the other day, the first half of the season is very home heavy for the Islanders. They need to take advantage of these games at the Barclays Center since they will be on the road for most of the time from February through the rest of the season.
So not playing hard for 60 minutes is inexcusable anytime throughout the season, but especially four games into the year when teams should be well rested.
And that allowed Dell to get into a grove. If the Islanders came out as a house of fire, they may have been able to rattle the rookie and put the sharks on their heels.
But they did not.
Instead, the Islanders will have to settle for a 1-3 record four games into the season.
Now, it wasn’t a total loss, as rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored his first goal in his NHL career. The 19 year-old is making a case for himself during the early part of the season, as the Islanders have nine games to make the decision to keep him on the roster of send him back to Junior.
“I was pretty happy and excited,” Beauvillier said. “I was smiling on the bench for sure.”
Although Beauvillier has been in the lineup for most of the year, Mathew Barzal, the other teenager on the team, only suited up once this season. But coach Jack Capuano seemed pleased with both of his young players.
“He’s a young kid that’s working hard trying to adapt to the system we play here,” Capuano said of Beauvillier. “I’m really happy with the young guys that we kept around.”
But really those were the only smiles on the night. The Islanders are just not a talented enough team to give away periods, especially against good teams like the Sharks.
Hopefully, they will use this as a lesson for themselves as they look to rebound on Friday against Coyotes at Barclays Center.