Elmont, NY– A win is a win. You take them whichever way you can get them, and the New York Islanders certainly enjoy getting them their way, as Saturday night’s season opener against the Buffalo Sabres was a vintage Islanders victory.
However, the win very much could’ve gone the other way and is indicative of who the Islanders have been these last couple of years and likely will be once again this season.
For all the good the Islanders showed, there was an equally familiar amount of bad.
The power play was never a threat, generating just three shots on net in their three opportunities that all ended without a goal, while a pair of defensive miscues allowed Buffalo to tie the game. Nevertheless, it’s still a win.
“There were pockets in the second period where we had point-blank chances,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “There were some opportunities early in the third as well, so we just kept with it. That was the bottom line. We kept with it. Obviously, we didn’t love the fact that they tied the game, but we kept with it, and it’s a good job by our guys.”
Keeping with it is the Islanders’ way of operating. They kept with much of the same roster and coaching staff from last year in hopes that with more time, more positive results would come as they did last night.
“There are stretches through the game where you could be better,” Casey Cizikas said after scoring the game-winning goal with under seven minutes to play. “But we got the group in here that rebounds from that really well. Tonight was a good example of that.”
However, the Islanders will need to accept the bad that also comes with that formula.
If Kyle Palmieri‘s goal didn’t ever so slightly graze off the skate of Connor Clifton, if replay determined that Noah Dobson had skated offside before Cizikas’ goal, or if Buffalo finished the several backdoor plays the Islanders gave up, we’d have a very different conversation this morning.
Yet again, maybe we’re not since it’d be the same one from all of last season.
We’d hammer the power play and criticize the Islanders’ struggles to clear dangerous, loose pucks out in front of Sorokin.
Make no mistake, those issues haven’t disappeared.
They were as present in last night’s game as they were throughout last season, and we all remember how that ended.