Notes on the highlights from the Islanders 2-1 loss to the Devils:
Brad Boyes and Michael Grabner: That Grabner opportunity on the feed from Boyes behind the net was closer than I thought. Grabner overall had a lot of jump, which is a worry when a speedster is coming back from a lower body injury. I don't know how that line will work out overall, but after looking like he was still adjusting to new environs in the scrimmage, Boyes showed the "upside" part of his signing with moments like that.
Evgeni Nabokov: Not only was he sharp most of the night, the one goal you'd like to have back (as a goalie) was not only screened, but deflected. David Clarkson's shot went through bodies and redirected off an Islander skate. On the abysmal line change 3-on-1 goal, Nabby stretched as much as can be asked; Travis Zajac did well to put it up high and inside the post. Essentially, the Islanders wasted a good performance by Nabby.
But it's Hockey: Generally uninspiring game overall, but it's hockey so you see how it could have gone multiple ways: Nabby doesn't make those first period saves and it becomes a laugher. Brodeur doesn't get that glove on Grabner's shot and Boyes doesn't hit the post, and suddenly it's the Islanders trying to seal a win.
Which isn't to say the Isles deserved a better result; they didn't. But if you're on the ledge after one game and a one-goal loss, you might step back and remember what hockey is like. At least you're not a Wings fan this morning.
Game coverage elsewhere:
- Newsday: Jittery start
- Doug Weight in the Post: "New Jersey is not out to try and break you down. They’re out to try and take away the outside of the rink, put the puck in your zone and play in there. They block shots, they’re frustrating."
- IPB: Slow and sloppy
- The Checking Line has lots from Travis Hamonic
- NY Hockey Journal: Slow, flat start
- Eric Hornick's Skinny has the many ways the Isles' openers have gone wanting in recent years.
Finally, Jack Capuano is out of the hospital (kidney stones) but is unlikely to coach Monday's game.
And your lines from today's practice: