The Islanders closed out their three-game homestand with a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at NYCB Live on Tuesday night. Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders, while Noah Dobson registered his first-career point - an assist - in his NHL debut. Sandwiched between the two Islanders goals were five straight strikes by the Oilers, including a four-goal night from James Neal.
"We were looking for an easy game," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "I'm disappointed with that because we knew it wasn't going to be. You've got to hand it to them. It was not a great start, we had too many turnovers, we were too soft on the battle and we took too many penalties."
Beauvillier opened up the scoring six minutes into the first period as he roofed his first career shorthanded goal over Edmonton goaltender Mikko Koskinen. The tide turned from there, as Neal netted a natural hat trick, including a pair of power-play goals at the end of the first and start of the second periods. Zack Kassian scored on the doorstep set up by Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid to make it 4-1 and Neal rounded out the scoring with his fourth at 6:51 of the third.
Down 5-1, the Islanders attempted a third-period comeback, as Martin netted his first goal of the season. Brock Nelson seemingly made it 5-3, but the tally was waived off due to a kicking motion.
Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves on 23 shots, but was replaced by Thomas Greiss just over 10-minutes in the second period after Varlamov surrendered the Oilers' fourth goal. Greiss made seven saves in his 31:14 of playing time.
In his NHL debut, the 19-year-old rookie logged 18:50 time on ice and recorded his first-career point - an assist - on Matt Martin's third-period tally. Dobson cut into the slot to set up Martin for an easy cross-ice, tap-in on the doorstep to score his first goal of the season and cut the Islanders deficit to 5-2.
"He's high talent, you could see that on that play," Martin said. "His poise with the puck. He's got a bright future. He's going to be a key part of that franchise for a long time."
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-shot was paired alongside 28-year-old veteran Nick Leddy. The Isles' 2018 first rounder (12th overall) cracked the Islanders roster out of his second pro training camp. Dobson joins the Islanders following an impressive junior career in the QMJHL highlighted by back-to-back Memorial Cups (2018 and 2019). Dobson also got looks alongside Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock.
"It was pretty surreal," Dobson said after the game. "You work your whole life to play in the NHL and going for the lap in warmup it really sinks in. Obviously not the result we wanted, but it was a good experience overall and I really enjoyed it, it's something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
TROTZ MIXES UP HIS LINES:
The Islanders pride themselves on their detailed, defensive structure, but fell flat against the high-paced, checking Oilers. While the Islanders were 52% on faceoffs, they veered away from their hard-nosed, disciplined style of play. The Isles power play went 0-for-2, while the the penalty kill went 3-for-5.
After Edmonton cushioned its lead by three goals, Trotz mixed up the line combinations. Derick Brassard shifted up to center the Isles top line alongside Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, while Mathew Barzal started the third period alongside, Beauvilier and Michael Dal Colle.
"Right now, I'm considering a lot of changes with guys that have been working hard," Trotz said. "We've got to be better. This is a good league. You get tested every night."
BAILEY PLAYS 800TH NHL GAME:
Josh Bailey played in his 800th career NHL game on Tuesday. The 31-year-old became the sixth player in Isles history to reach 800 games, behind Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies and Bob Bourne.
Over the span of 12 seasons, the Isles' 2008 first rounder (ninth overall) has registered 435 points (141G, 294A), 31 power-play goals and played in 30 playoff games. Through his first two games this season, Bailey has two points (1G, 1A).
The Isles are now 1-2-0 to start the season. The Isles make their first road trip of the season on Friday at Carolina and return to NYCB Live to host Florida on Saturday.