The new era of Islanders hockey began at the Barclays Center with the defending Stanley Cup champions in attendance. And a game filled with skill and speed gave fans an exciting finish – in overtime.
Artem Anisimov gave the Hawks their first lead of 2015-16 with his first goal of the young season in the first period. It was also the first short-handed goal of the season, coming on the Hawks’ first penalty kill of the new year.
John Tavares was left all alone and finished to tie the game early in the second, but Patrick Kane received a gorgeous pass from Jonathan Toews and gave the lead back to Chicago at 15:11 into the middle frame.
Marek Zidlicky tied the game 78 seconds into the third, and the score would stay even through 60 minutes of play.
And, for the first time, the Blackhawks got a taste of 3-on-3 overtime.
Chicago started overtime with Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith. Before the Hawks could change Toews and Keith off the ice, Marian Hossa came on and took a great lead pass from Toews for a breakaway. Nick Leddy hooked him on the play and Chicago got an overtime power play opportunity; in the new format, a player is added to make it a 4-on-3 scenario.
Early in the power play, with Toews parked in front of the net, Kane put a shot on net that appeared to redirect off Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk and into the net for the game-winner.
Corey Crawford had a good night, stopping 34 of 36 in the victory. Thomas Greiss was impressive on the other end of the ice, stopping 32 of 35 in defeat.
As coach Joel Quenneville searched for more consistency from his forwards, the line blender was active on Friday night. Artemi Panarin – nicknamed “The Breadman” – saw action with Kane and Toews (including the shift that resulted in Kane’s first goal of the night). Panarin continues to impress and get more confident with the puck. He finished with four shots on net and one takeaway against the Islanders.
The result of mixing up the lines was more balanced ice time for the forwards. Only two forwards – Toews (21:05) and Hossa (19:46) – skated more than 18 minutes in the game.
Ryan Garbutt had an effective night in spite of limited ice time. He skated 11:44, including 54 seconds of short-handed time, and was credited with four shots on net, one blocked shot and a team-leading six hits.
Trevor Daley, the other player added from Dallas over the summer, had a much better night than he did on Wednesday. He was credited with a team-leading four blocked shots in 17:45 and skated 2:05 on the power play. Daley was able to get two shots on net in the game as well.
Bryan Bickell, on the other hand, skated 11:02 and did almost nothing again. He was credited with two shots on net, one hit and one takeaway but handcuffed teammates a few times with bad passes and gave the puck away in the defensive zone as well.
Viktor Tikhonov made his Hawks debut and received the least amount of ice time on the roster (10:31). He picked up three hits, two takeaways and one shot on net, however, in 15 shifts.
Also making his debut was Viktor Svedberg, and continues to be tall. He skated 16:19 and was credited with two hits, two blocked shots and two shots on net. Svedberg was on the ice for 1:14 of penalty kill duty as well, but had an awful giveaway in the defensive zone.
Both teams travel to Chicago for a rematch at the United Center on Saturday night. Scott Darling is expected to be in net for the Hawks.