After an eight-goal performance from the Lightning, the Islanders should go back to start Thomas Greiss in Game 2 for Barry Trotz’s team.
Game 1 was a disaster. No way around it, the New York Islanders laid an egg in their first game in the Eastern Conference Final in 27 years. Now, with Game 2 tonight, Barry Trotz has a decision on his hands.
Who does he put in net? Well, Thomas Greiss got pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots but Semyon Varlamov wasn’t much better.
Varlamov had an .800 save percentage and allowed five goals. For the first time all playoffs, both goalies were ineffective for Trotz. So who does he go with in Game 2?
I think Greiss is the answer. None of the three goals that he allowed was his fault. The first one from Brayden Point was on Ryan Pulock who completely got undressed. The next two goals were from defensemen with multiple screens in front, the Isles have to clear out the front of the net for their goalie.
Even with the tough performance in Game 1, Greiss has a .929 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average. In his first three appearances, Greiss had a .952 save percentage, a .947 save percentage, and a 1.000 save percentage all while allowing just three goals.
Yes, no doubt Game 1 was a clunker, but it was a clunker for the entire team not just Thomas Greiss.
In 1980, the Islanders allowed eight goals in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup against the Flyers. After allowing six goals in Game 2, Billy Smith came back and had a .938 save percentage in the next game back.
This isn’t going to be a trend for the series. I don’t see the Islanders getting steamrolled out of the building against Tampa, they absolutely belong to be here and I expect a much better effort in Game 2 tonight.
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Trotz just has some tough decisions on his hands, and the goalie is one of those. If I was making the choice and guessing, I think Thomas Greiss is between the pipes for the Isles in this game tonight.