Saturday, October 10, 2015

N.Y. Islanders: Opening Night was a Flatbush Flop

From the desk of:  FIVE FOR FLATBUSH

No one ever said life in Brooklyn was gonna to be easy.

Blackhawks  3
Islanders       2

New York Islanders: With youz guys being new to the neighborhood and all, neutral zone gaffes are akin to playing in Flatbush Avenue traffic during rush hour - just brutal.  Way to throw your goalie under the bus!

The Chicago Blackhawks are no strangers to Thomas Greiss.  He previously part-timed in the Western Conference with San Jose and Phoenix during the first two of Chicago's recent three Cup championship runs.

After spending last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Garth Snow signed the free agent goalie to back up starter Jaroslav Halak.

The Fates, it seems, had other plans.

Let the record show, on October 9th, 2015, Thomas Greiss started the Islanders first official home game in Brooklyn against the defending Cup champions, and did well.  He will continue to start until Jaroslav Halak recovers from the proverbial upper body (chest) injury.

Greiss faced 32 shots and made 30 saves during Barclays Center's inaugural 60:00 minutes of regulation hockey.

Just beyond the midway point of the opening period, Chicago got whistled for too many men on the ice.  Then towards the latter end of the ensuing power play Brock Nelson committed the dreaded neutral zone turnover which resulted in Artem Anisimov's break-away short-handed goal.

It was only fitting that Captain John Tavares tied the game at 5:22 of the 2nd period on a nifty initial shot and his own rebound.

Fan relief was short lived, however.  At 15:11, Patrick Kane put Chicago back ahead.

The Isles struck back very early in the 3rd when Brock Nelson assisted on Marek Zidlicky's game tying goal at the 1:18 mark.

The Islanders were unable to convert their second power play of the game half way through the session.  The teams then remained scoreless for the balance of the 3rd period, which in effect provided Brooklyn ticket holders bonus hockey on Opening Night, and their first view of the NHL's new overtime rule change - five minutes of 3 on 3 hockey.

Barclays CEO Brett Yormark (who was resoundingly booed by the crowd) might have given traditional Islanders fans their goal horn back, however, he never promised them an ideal outcome.

Thomas Greiss turned away the first two Blackhawks shots in overtime.

Nick Leddy's slash on Marian Hossa at 1:18 perhaps only delayed the inevitable.  First off, the penalty was born of a defensive end turnover.  Then one could argue with an unobstructed Hossa bearing down upon Greiss, Leddy's infraction was justified.

No matter.  With Marian Hossa in the corner and traffic building in front of Greiss, Patrick Kane tipped in a rebound at the 1:49 mark.  Kane's game winning power play goal was his second of the game.

Tough break for Thomas Greiss, but look no further than Brock Nelson's gaffe in the 1st period as to why and when things went wrong.  It effectively cost the Islanders an Opening Night victory in their new home.

Despite the final score, the Islanders new beginning appeared well received.  All that's left is for them to post their first home victory.  Tonight, they'll finish out the back end of this home and home series against the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Then starting Monday, the Islanders will play three straight at home - along Flatbush Avenue that is.

On a side note, going out on a Friday night is somewhat of a lay-up.  With no work the following day, a hockey game is as good a destination as any.

Monday's and Thursday's games against the Jets and Predators, respectively, will prove far more telling about who's really dedicated to the new process, and who is not, I think.

Lets face it, with little to no designating parking (unlike Nassau Coliseum), we're going to find out how conducive the LIRR and MTA will be in so far as getting fans in and out of the immediate area.

The D-train is too simple for me.  It might be manageable for Mr. Smith coming from Franklin Square, but what about Mrs. Crabtree and her son coming from Islip?

We'll see.

Week days usually look like this.....

That's not exactly the Flatbush Freeway you're looking at.

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