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Postgame Mailbag: Questions & Comments From 3-1 Loss to Panthers

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New York Islanders
Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter

The New York Islanders failed to capitalize on their chances in their season-opening loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. After the first period, the New York Islanders had all the momentum, but the 18-minute intermission allowed the Panthers to regroup and take control of the game.

Rapid Recap: From The Hunter to the Hunted, Lose 3-1 to Panthers

After each New York Islanders game, I will be doing a mailbag. Thanks to all for submitting your questions.

How did you think the new and more aggressive style of hockey on the offensive side look? Are the Islanders just too slow personnel-wise in order to play like that? (@j_bergs87)

To answer the first part of your question, the New York Islanders showcased that aggressive offense early on in the first period. They outshot the Florida Panthers 18-10 in the first period, as they got a handful of chances due to forwards being aggressive at Florida’s blue line rather than dropping back in the neutral zone.

New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert shared this postgame:

“I wasn’t pleased with the way we transitioned the puck today…I thought we moved the puck too slow at times. We went D to D instead of going quick up [the ice], and it allowed them to get into their structure.”

The New York Islanders are not a fast team, but that does not mean they cannot be aggressive like we saw Thursday night.

Because of that aggressiveness, the Islanders garnered grade-A scoring chances throughout the contest, but if they are going to rely on speed to get more chances, it’s going to be a long season–because speed is something they are lacking.

How do you anticipate Lane shuffles the deck chairs on Sat? Maybe Aho for Salo and a blistering 6.5 minutes of Wahlstrom? (@coachjeff_24)

Kieffer Bellows was not great Thursday night, and it seemed that Lane Lambert was not seeing enough from him as he played just 16 seconds in the third period and a total of 7:16 minutes. The 24-year-old did not muster a shot on goal, with one shot attempt, three hits, and a giveaway.

Lambert said postgame that Oliver Wahlstrom and Cal Clutterbuck were both taking steps in the right direction, but they will see how they feel on Saturday.

“Both him and Cal Clutterbuck are, you know, coming back and progressing from things they had that kept them out of training camp, so we look forward to seeing them back in the lineup soon.”

I could see Wahlstrom playing after what we saw, or didn’t see rather, from Bellows.

Robin Salo is still learning the speed of the NHL game, so I don’t think he will be pulled after one weak performance. Sebastian Aho, for as good as he played in the preseason finale, is not moving the needle, and you rather see the young Salo play and learn through mistakes, rather than destroy his confidence.

Standout player in Game one? Who disappointed you most? (@JPDSalazar)

There were a couple of players who stood out for the right reasons on Thursday night. One was Casey Cizikas, who looked like his old energizer self. He helped the penalty kill go a perfect five-for-five, playing 3:20 on the PK. He registered two shots and four hits, while also winning six of his eight draws.

Ilya Sorokin was dominant in goal, giving the New York Islanders every chance to win as he stopped 26 of 28. If the Islanders are going to do anything this season, Sorokin will have to be on his game most nights, so it was a good start to his season in that regard against a juggernaut offense.

The officiating disappointed me the most, as many of the penalties called were soft, in my opinion. I rather see the referees let the players play, and if you are going to call soft goals on one team, you have to call them on both.

I thought Kieffer Bellows, Noah Dobson, and Robin Salo did not have the best of games. Dobson scored a beautiful goal, but some of his decisions were weak. He also struggled to hold the puck in the Panthers’ zone, as his turnover led to the empty-net goal. Kieffer Bellows only played a tad over seven minutes and did not get a shot on goal. Robin Salo took a few penalties, soft, but penalties nevertheless.

 Thoughts on Romanov in his debut with the Islanders? (@cbentivenga1472)

There was a lot to like from Alexander Romanov in his first game as an Islander. He laid the body effectively with four hits. He got in the shooting lane, blocking a team-high nine shots on goal. He played 5:55 on the penalty kill, a penalty kill that went 5-for-5. Not that Romanov was careless with the puck, but slow decision-making led to four turnovers. The more he plays the system, the less panicky he will be with the puck on his stick.

Here are the New York Islanders stories to know:

New York Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau is known for his ping-pong abilities, off the ice. But on Thursday night in the season opener against the Florida Panthers, he brought his ping-pong skills onto the ice with him. 

Gotta See It: Pageau Ping-Pongs Puck Off Islanders Goal line

What bold predictions do you have for the 2022-23 NHL season? Here are mine:

Rosner: Bold Predictions for the New York Islanders in 2022-23

On Wednesday, free agent defenseman Andy Greene signed a one-day contract with the New Jersey Devils as he announced his retirement from the NHL after a 17-year career.

Andy Greene Announces Retirement, ‘Such a Fantastic Human Being’

Adam Pelech is THE shutdown defenseman on the roster, with his partner Ryan Pulock supposed to be the offensive talent on that line. But over the last two years, Ryan Pulock has not been able to bring that offensive consistency. Can he find that game in Lane Lambert’s new aggressive system?

Can Ryan Pulock Rediscover His Offense Game in Lambert’s System?

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