Anders Lee of the New York Islanders for position against...

Anders Lee of the New York Islanders for position against Aaron Ekblad and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers during the third period at UBS Arena on Oct. 13, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Small sample sizes sometimes lead to bigger overreactions.

So the Islanders have a quick opportunity to quell any growing doubts — specifically about their offense — and earn their first win as they face the Ducks on Saturday night at UBS Arena in the second game of a season-opening four-game homestand.

On Thursday night, the Islanders generated 13 high-danger chances to the Panthers’ 10, per Natural Stat Trick, and their expected goals for was 2.35 compared with the Panthers’ 1.88. That was a solid start considering the Panthers led the NHL last season with 340 goals and finished atop the league standings with 122 points.

Yet the Islanders lost, 3-1, giving up the go-ahead goal 30 seconds after tying it in the third period and then allowing a late empty-netter.

“We’re building our game,” Anders Lee said. “We’ve got to continue to improve every night. This was our first chance against a good team. There’s a lot of good things in that game and then there’s the things that we can correct.”

The Panthers outchanced them 70-61 and the Islanders were inconsistent with their pace of play.

“We saw how we needed to play to generate those chances,” Kyle Palmieri said.

Allowing the Panthers five power-play chances didn’t help, but new coach Lane Lambert also noted the Islanders’ struggles in transition getting the puck out of their defensive end. That also was a problem last season.

“We just had to move a little bit quicker at times,” Lambert said.

The Islanders entered this season with questions as to how they would generate their goals. They missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2018 and finished 24th in the NHL with 231 goals. Yet president and general manager Lou Lamoriello showed faith in the core group; 21 of the 23 players on the opening-night roster are returnees.

“I think we did some good things,” said Noah Dobson, who scored on the power play at 3:13 of the third period. “I think when we raised our level and we matched their intensity, you saw we had good zone time. We had good chances. At the same time, there were times in the game we were in our end too much.

“It’s the first game. We didn’t get the result we wanted. We’ll build on the good things and get ready for Saturday.”

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