In hopes of making a series of firsts last night, first UBS home game, first goal in the new arena, and first win in the establishment, the Isles were only fortunate at obtaining the first two. They had setbacks with the fact that many of their top players such as Captain Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier to name a few, were out due to COVID protocol. That being said, New York still held their own until the ending of the game.
Forward Brock Nelson not only secured the first ever goal for the Islanders in UBS Arena, but secured the first two. Each of his goals put the Isles within one with the ability to tie and pull ahead if given the opportunity.
The first goal was actually waived off at first by the on ice official only for it to be reviewed and ruled a fair goal. Kyle Palmieri had the puck down behind the net and passed up to Richard Panik who was tied up with Calgary Forward Sean Monahan. Panik managed to spin around enough to pass the puck over to a waiting Nelson in front of the net who went top corner on goaltender Jacob Markstrom. The referee actually allowed play to continue on not realizing that the puck had crossed the blue line. Nonetheless, the goal was counted upon review and the Islanders found themselves in a 2-1 game within the final seconds of the first.
Unfortunately for New York, the game went on to the second period where Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane scored just under seven minutes into the period making the game 3-1. However, it was the very start of the third that Nelson found the back of the net once more to bring the Isles within one a second time.
All the Islanders needed to do was find that tying goal to give them some momentum to pull ahead. With five other power plays at their disposal (not counting the one that Nelson scored on), that was their opportunity to do so.
Once they pulled Semyon Varlamov from net, it gave Calgary the room they needed to establish their lead even further. The game quickly went from 3-2 to 5-2 in just over a minute. That being said though, the 5-2 score doesn’t reflect the battle that the Islanders played in their game. What would’ve helped them even more was not pulling Varlamov after the first empty netter. It was understandable to pull him the first time as there were the final minutes and they were down by one. However, once the score was increased to 4-2 and the minutes dwindled down towards the final seconds, having a goaltender in the net to prevent the score from running up even further would have prevented the final unnecessary goal for the Flames.