New York Islanders Win First Game of Qualifying Round

Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders played their first qualifying round game on Saturday night, and they got off to a great start against the Panthers.

The New York Islanders were one of 24 teams invited to the NHL’s restart following COVID-19 shutting down the season for several months. With that, the playoffs were tweaked a bit and a qualifying round was added where teams (with the exception of the top four teams in each conference) will face-off in a best-of-five series.

The Islanders’ opponent for the qualifying round is the Florida Panthers as the Islanders finished seventh in the East and the Panthers 10th. The first of that five-game series was played on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, and it was all Isles.

The Islanders got off to an early start after Jean-Gabriel Pageau put one past Sergei Bobrovsky, off an assist from Derick Brassard only 12 minutes into the first period. With that, the Islanders got off to a 1-0 start and would hold onto that start until they added to it in the second.

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Less than four minutes into the second period, Anthony Beauvillier put the Islanders up 2-0 on a powerplay goal assisted by Devon Toews and Josh Bailey. The Islanders held this 2-0 lead for the remainder of the second period, but let up a goal to Jonathan Huberdeau only 23 seconds into the third period.

The game would end with a final score of 2-1, as the Islanders would go up 1-0 in the qualifying round. However, although they won game one, the Islanders certainly didn’t play their best game.

The Islanders went on four total powerplays and capitalized on only one of them while the Panthers had only two, but failed to capitalize on others. In addition to this, the shot totals were even as both the Islanders and Panthers put 28 shots on goal.

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Luckily for the Islanders, Semyon Varlamov had a better night than Sergei Bobrovsky, but that might not always be the case, and the Islanders are going to have to step it up in the remaining games of the five-game-series if they want to move past the Panthers.