Saturday, September 21, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Islanders 0
By Katie Strang
NEW YORK -- The Islanders didn't break in their new digs with a win, but they did christen their future home with Brooklyn's first taste of NHL hockey in a 3-0 loss to the Devils at Barclays Center on Saturday.
What it means: In a game that was more about the atmosphere than the final score, the new arena drew mixed reviews from the 14,689 in attendance. Though the buzz about the new building brought out a big crowd and ample excitement, there were also some anticipated gripes about the state-of-the-art venue, which will be home to the Islanders beginning in 2015-16. The sleek, modern Barclays Center is an automatic upgrade over the antiquated Nassau Coliseum, at least aesthetically, but some fans weren't sold on the sight lines and obstructed views they encountered.
Fan favorite: Though fans were fond of the intimate feeling the arena’s configuration provides, there were also some complaints about the obstructed views, particularly from the West End area of the arena. Some said they completely lost portions of play while the puck was behind the net, others said they found that the glass warped their vantage point. Even a few fans griped that there was no place to smoke a cigarette.
Looking good: Devils netminder Cory Schneider, who turned away all 22 shots faced in his Devils debut Monday night against the Rangers, has yet to surrender a goal in the preseason. The former Canuck, acquired by the Devils in a draft-day trade, made 26 saves to blank the Islanders in his second exhibition game.
Josefson makes history: Mark this one down, trivia buffs. Devils center Jacob Josefson scored the first ever NHL goal in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Josefson poked through a rebound to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at 10:14 of the first, with defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Swiss forward Damien Brunner picking up the assists.
Down and out: Islanders winger Kyle Okposo left the game with 10:20 to play in the third period after catching a stick to the face that left his mouth bloodied. No high-sticking penalty was called.
Still got it: Veteran Patrik Elias, who is entering his 17th season with the Devils, gave the team a 2-0 lead in the second period and picked up an assist on Steve Bernier's power-play goal in the next frame. The 37-year-old forward, who has amassed 375 goals and 930 points during his illustrious career with New Jersey, led the team in scoring last season with 14 goals and 36 points.
Sticking around: Former Red Wing Brunner picked up two assists in his second game since signing a professional tryout contract with the Devils earlier this week. Following Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Islanders, the 26-year-old said his conditioning and timing both needed improvement, but he looked better Saturday night. Though Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said he gave Brunner “no promises” about earning a contract for the season, his two-point performance Saturday was a step toward cracking the opening-day roster.