History was made tonight. It was the first NHL game to be played at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The New York Islanders got the first taste of their future home, as they played host to the New Jersey Devils for the second time in three nights. New York’s offense was on point in New Jersey on Thursday night, but tonight it went AWOL as the Devils came away with the 3-0 win. The difference between tonight and Thursday is the lack of production by the Islanders. They were able to finish their chances when they had them Thursday night. Tonight, the ability to finish just wasn’t there.
The Islanders had their chances. Case in point, Matt Moulson had at least three chances at the side of the Devils’ net, but he wasn’t able to beat Corey Schneider. Moulson was playing with John Tavares and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and the line generated a few good chances, but couldn’t beat Schneider. Then again, to the credit of Schneider, he played a good game, stopping 38 shots. That line isn’t the only one that struggled, the Josh Bailey, Frans Neilsen and Kyle Okposo line was off all night as well. Bailey had a pair against the Devils on Thursday night, but was held in check all night. Plus, Okposo was clipped with a high stick late in the third period, getting cut on the play. It wasn’t intentional at all, but still, it was sort of an indication of how the night was going.
The biggest change of the night was the fact that the line of Andres Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome was left out of the lineup. Now don’t get me wrong, the combo of Bailey and Okposo looked great the other night in New Jersey, but the Strome Line has been the most consistent line since the start of camp. Lee scored his first goal the other night as well, showing me that those three guys, Lee, Strome and Nelson, are really ready to make an impact on the Islanders. Now, why that line was scratched from the game tonight I’m not really sure. After some performances tonight, those three should be back in tomorrow night when the Islanders play the Nashville Predators down in Nashville. So, there is a quick turnaround for the team to see if some of the mistakes that were made tonight can be corrected by tomorrow. Hopefully the Islanders will be able to finish better come opening night in two weeks.
As far as the experience in Brooklyn tonight, I think its an interesting look, to say the least. Some of the vantage points in the building were pretty good, but some of the others weren’t all that great, at least from what I could tell. Again, I wasn’t there in person, but from what I could see on TV, it looked like it could be a decent place to catch a hockey game. Some of the setup may not be ideal, but since the Islanders don’t move into the building for good until 2015, there is plenty of time to get the kinks worked out.