The Islanders wanted two points in the second half of their back-to-back home-at-home miniseries against the Blackhawks. They settled for zero after a disjointed and disappointing 4-1 loss, in which Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin each had a goal and two assists.
If you were worried about the goalie playing in his first NHL game, you shouldn't have been. It was the other 20 guys that have a lot of explaining to do.
In his first action above the AHL, newest Islander Jean-Francois Berube fared pretty well for himself - when he wasn't being hung out to dry by his teammates. The four goals against him all happened as a result of poor defense or puck protection - and, in the case of the final one, on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. He managed to stop a breakaway, help kill a double minor and generally stave off the Blackhawks as well as any goalie could have.
The Islanders were fortunate to only be down 1-0 after the first period. Sloppy play, particularly in their own zone, led to some quality chances for Chicago. With most of the Islanders' top line scrambling around, Trevor van Riemsdyk scored the first goal of his NHL career (and after getting his name on the Stanley Cup) by picking up a short rebound of a Kane shot.
Things didn't improve much in the second, as the teams traded odd man rushes early. A Brian Strait giveaway behind the net to Kane led to an uncontested Panarin goal from the slot. After that, the Islanders' play worsened still, culminating in the Blackhawks pinning the Isles in their own zone for over a minute. Kane redirected a van Riemsdyk shot through an Artem Anisimov screen and past Berube. The Islanders, magically, managed to make it out of the period without further embarrassing themselves.
The Islanders wheels came off for good in the third with a series of bizarre penalties. Calvin de Haan was called for a double minor for high-sticking and delay of game after hitting Jonathan Toews in the face just after closing his hand on the puck on an attempted defensive zone hand-pass. The Islanders managed to kill it off, despite, at one point, both Johnny Boychuk and Nikolay Kulemin playing without sticks.
Sadistically, the Islanders decided that situation just wasn't difficult enough and wanted to really test themselves by giving the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 power play. After Marek Zidlicky was called for interference, John Tavares took a very uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and received a game misconduct after getting into a "Fuck You" fight with a ref. The penalties led to Brent Seabrook's slapshot goal.
With Zidlicky in the box again for high-sticking Toews, Cal Clutterbuck broke up Scott Darling's shutout, scoring on a 2-on-1 break with Casey Cizikas. Darling made 28 saves and I'm hard-pressed to remember any of them. Shots finished 34-29 in favor of Chicago.
The Islanders were 0-for-2 on the power play, while Chicago was 1-for-a very generous 7. In fairness, the only goal against the Islanders PK was Seabrook's 5-on-3 score in the third.
It is here that I'll mention that the Blackhawks didn't win three of the last five Stanley Cups by accident, and starting the season with two games in two days against them is a tough road to hoe for any team. But I don't say that as a way of giving the Islanders a pass. If they expect to be spoken about in the same echelon as teams like Chicago, they can't allow performances like this to last for entire games.
It was a stinker. Berube was fine. Move on and get ready to conquer Winnipeg on Columbus Day afternoon.