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NEW YORK — The season opener
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Thursday night marked the official start of a new era for the New York Islanders. But Saturday night will truly reinforce the uncertainty upon which the Islanders have embarked.The overhauled Islanders will begin their vagabond home existence Saturday night James Neal Jersey , when New York hosts the Nashville Predators at Barclays Center.Both teams earned wins in their openers Thursday night, when the visiting Islanders edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime, while the Predators beat the host New York Rangers 3-2.Article continues below ...Saturday’s game is the first of two home openers this season for the Islanders, who are scheduled to play 21 games at Barclays Center and 20 contests at a renovated Nassau Coliseum, where the franchise played from its inception in 1972 until 2015. The first game at the Coliseum is scheduled for Dec. 1, when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit.The split schedule — which originally called for the Islanders to play 29 games at Barclays and 12 at Nassau Coliseum — was announced Jan. 29, a little more than a month after the Islanders announced their intentions to leave Barclays by winning a bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park on the border of Nassau and Queens counties.The move thrilled Islanders fans, who loved the confines of the Coliseum and never warmed to the sight-lines of Barclays nor the commute into Brooklyn. “I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re going back to the Coliseum,” new Islanders head coach Barry Trotz told a television station in September. “That’s where it should be. I think that’s where the fans want it.”But the commitment to Belmont turned the Islanders into lame ducks at two arenas, both of which are operated by the same company (Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment), for an indeterminate period of time.An environmental study of the Belmont area is scheduled to be completed by the spring, after which Islanders ownership hopes to break ground with the goal of opening the arena by the start of the 2021-22 season. But the Islanders have been trying to build a new arena for decades, so when the team will actually begin play at Belmont is anyone’s guess.It is also anyone’s guess as to which player will be leading that team into Belmont after star center John Tavares left for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent in July. Tavares exited despite the recent arrivals of Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , who was named the Islanders’ president of hockey operations May 22, and Trotz, who was named head coach on June 21.With Lamoriello and Trotz in charge, the Islanders are sure to be more defensively sound than last season, when they allowed an NHL-high 296 goals. Even after a stout effort on Thursday, Trotz made it clear he believes New York has a long way to go.“As a coach, you always want perfection,” Trotz told reporters. “We didn’t have perfection tonight.”Neither did the Predators, the Stanley Cup contenders who were hanging on to a 2-1 lead over the rebuilding Rangers before Colton Sissons scored an empty-netter with 1:24 remaining. “I thought we did some good things,” Predators head coach Peter Laviolette said. “There are things that we could be better at.”Pekka Rinne, who made 34 saves in goal for the Predators on Thursday, is likely to draw the start on Saturday. The Islanders are expected to split goaltending duties this season between Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner, though Greiss’ 45-save effort Thursday night could earn him a second straight start. SAN JOSE Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was honored in a pregame ceremony for skating in his 1,000th career game two weeks earlier.After being led on to the ice through a giant Sharks head by his son Jagger, he received several gifts, including a fossilized megalodon tooth and two gemsbok antelope for his ranch in Texas.Burns then celebrated by scoring his fourth game-winning goal to help San Jose beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 for its sixth straight win Saturday night.“I can’t say enough about the whole Sharks organization, and (GM) Doug (Wilson), what they did for my family,” Burns said. “Letting Jags come out of the Sharks head, that’s one of the best moments of my life and his life. To share that, it’s just — everything they do is first class and really special.”San Jose fans should be very happy considering the Sharks have also won five straight at home and are riding an 8-1-0 streak in their last nine contests.San Jose goalie Martin Jones, who has allowed two or fewer goals in four straight starts, made 27 saves. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who own the second-best home record this season at 16-4-4“It was a tough scheduled game for us Nate Schmidt Jersey , I think five in eight nights and (after) an emotional game in Vegas,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “They played hard, they played with a lot of structure. They make it hard to get through the neutral zone. So, this was a game we had to really gut it out a little bit. And I thought we found a way.”It was also an emotional night for Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, as he faced the Senators for the second time this season after being traded from Ottawa just before training camp opened in September.“It’s still weird, it’s probably gonna be weird for as long as I play somewhere else, but that’s the way it is,” Karlsson said. “The boys in here were tired today and we did what we had to do to get away with a ‘W’ and that’s what it’s all about. It wasn’t a pretty game and at the end of the day the two points were huge for us.”With the win, the Sharks remained one point back of first-place Calgary in the Pacific Division, and a point ahead of Vegas, which beat Chicago 4-3 earlier in the night. San Jose defeated the Golden Knights in Vegas on Thursday.Since the start of December, the Sharks have scored 87 goals, second only behind Tampa Bay http://www.goldenknightsshoponline.com/a...nsk-jersey , which has scored 88.Leading 1-0 from Pavelski’s second-period goal — his team-leading 26th on the season — Burns made it 2-0 at 6:17 of the third when he sent a wrist shot to the net that went off Ottawa’s Christian Jaros and past Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson, who stopped 28 shots.Jones’ bid for his 21st career shutout ended 27 seconds later when Ryan Dzingel took Bobby Ryan’s no-look backhand feed and sniped a wrist shot top shelf.Thornton pushed the lead back to two goals with 4:17 left in the game, when he redirected a shot that started at the top from Burns and bounced off Timo Meier.“We gave ourselves a chance as long as we could,” said Ottawa coach Guy Boucher, whose Senators dropped to 6-15-1 on the road this season. “The Sharks are the team of the hour and they are stacked. To be able to hang in there with them was a positive for us. We got enough looks and opportunities, but I think we could have done more in front of their goaltender to deserve what they got.”NOTES: Ottawa’s Dylan DeMelo and Chris Tierney returned to San Jose for the first time since joining the Senators in the trade involving Erik Karlsson. … Justin Braun returned to the lineup for the first time since being place on inured reserve on Jan. 5. … Joe Thornton is one game shy of his 1,000th as a Shark. … Darren Archibald, who was acquired on Jan. 2 in the same trade that brought Nilsson over from Vancouver, made his Senators debut in place of Colin White, who sustained a left shoulder injury against the Kings. … San Jose F Joonas Donskoi took a hard hit in the first period, didn’t play a shift over the last two periods and was being evaluated for an undisclosed injury.UP NEXTSenators: Host Colorado on Wednesday.Sharks: Host Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
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