The Islanders opened their new era in Brooklyn with a good showing, but it earned them only one point.
After some Barclays Center fanfare and an announced sellout crowd of 15,795 brought the Isles onto the ice, they managed to rally twice to send their season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks to overtime.
In the new three-on-three OT format, Patrick Kane was credited with the winner, his second goal of the night, after a pass deflected off Johnny Boychuk's stick and past Thomas Greiss for a 3-2 Islanders loss.
There wasn't much flow to the game, though after Marek Zidlicky's slapper through Mikhail Grabovski's screen and between Corey Crawford's pads 1:18 into the third period tied the score at 2-2, the Islanders had a few golden chances to take the lead. That was especially true in the closing minutes of the third when they had their best stretch of the night.
But on the first shift of OT, Nick Leddy took a slashing penalty to disrupt Marian Hossa's breakaway chance, giving the Blackhawks a four-on-three power play that they converted 1:49 into the extra session.
"It wasn't the prettiest game," said John Tavares, who tied the score 5:22 into the second, converting his own rebound after a nice feed from Boychuk. "We fought hard, we worked hard and I thought we had chances to win it in regulation. It was just an unlucky bounce in OT."
Bounces were frequent throughout the night on ice that one Islander described as "awful." Pucks were hopping sticks from the start, something the Islanders will have to adjust to in their new home, which will get far more non-hockey use than Nassau Coliseum did.
"It wasn't great," Tavares said. "We're just trying to play the game the way the coaches want us to play, but we're also still adjusting to the new ice here."
That slow ice seemed to play a role in the game's first goal. On the power play, Brock Nelson tried to make a short pass in center ice that didn't slide fast enough to Leddy. Artem Anisimov picked it off, cruised in alone on Greiss and beat him with a backhander for a shorthanded goal at 13:28 of the first.
After Tavares tied it to send the home crowd into a "yes, yes, yes" frenzy, Kane scored his first goal off a nice feed from Jonathan Toews, who muscled a pass from behind the net with Leddy draped all over him. Kane easily beat Greiss, who was looking over his right shoulder as Kane snapped one past the goalie's left side.
Greiss, the only choice to start in goal with Jaroslav Halak still recovering from an upper-body injury, had a sharp game, making 32 saves. He may get the call again Saturday night when the teams meet again in Chicago.
"It wasn't a bad game, just a couple adjustments I need to make," Greiss said. "The team played great in front of me."
It was an entirely new experience, from the new arena, new commute and new ice to a new overtime format. Perhaps there was something to be said for getting something out of such a strange, unfamiliar opening to the Islanders' season.
"It's never fun losing, of course, but we worked hard and we got on the board," Frans Nielsen said. "We competed. That's what we talk about -- compete every night and you've got a chance."