CHICAGO - The way this one ended, with a parade of gift power plays to the Blackhawks and the Islanders' captain in the dressing room after being dismissed with 12 minutes' worth of misconduct penalties, it could seem like the worst possible start to the Islanders' season.
And it's hard to make the case that Saturday night's 4-1 loss to the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks -- which followed a 3-2 overtime loss to Chicago on Friday night at Barclays Center -- was any sort of positive in the second game of the Isles' 2015-16 campaign.
Goaltender J-F Berube made his NHL debut and didn't get much help from his new teammates, who were dazzled a bit too often by Chicago star Patrick Kane (goal, two assists) and Chicago star-in-waiting Artemi Panarin (goal, two assists).
But we're not at the hair-on-fire stage of the season. "You can't hit the panic button -- there's 80 games left," Calvin de Haan said. "We competed. We just made too many mistakes."
A handful of errors were enough to put themselves in a hole. The first came just 4:07 in, when Berube left a rebound of Kane's long shot and Hawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk beat Kyle Okposo to the loose puck and buried it.
The second period was uglier. Brian Strait's turnover to Kane became Panarin's easy goal from alone in front at 5:33. Kane and Panarin played keep-away for almost a minute later in the second before Kane redirected van Riemsdyk's pass for a 3-0 lead.
"I was just trying to enjoy it. It's a great building to play in," said Berube, who was claimed off waivers from the Kings on Tuesday and went into net after only two practices with his new team. "I should've done a better job on the first goal, but I feel like I settled in and found my rhythm."
Berube acquitted himself well with 30 saves. The Isles forwards did not, fumbling away a couple of golden chances in the first period by not stopping and starting at the right moments in front of Scott Darling, whose shutout bid was spoiled by Cal Clutterbuck with 1:05 to go.
"I just think that's timing and it comes with playing more games," Clutterbuck said. "You're shooting pucks, trying to end up in the right spots, and it takes time to get it right."
By the latter half of the third, the Isles were giving up frustration power plays and John Tavares, held to one shot on goal, boiled over with 6:05 to go. He took two-minute and 10-minute misconducts for arguing a penalty call with referee Kyle Rehman and took an early shower with his team down 3-0.
Jack Capuano jumbled his forward lines in the second period to find some consistency, but he felt too many in that group were lacking. "We'll reevaluate things tomorrow and we'll talk to some guys and tell them they've got to get better," he said. "We mixed up the lines to see what we can work with going forward."
Forward is the only way to go after this 0-1-1 start. The Jets come to Barclays Center Monday, the start of a three-game homestand that could erase the sour taste of last night's poor outing.
"I didn't think it was that bad, to be honest," Clutterbuck said. "They had one big shift on us in the second, we had chances in the first. It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't good enough."