With their backs against the wall down 2-0, the New York Islanders need a strong performance in Game 3 against Tampa Bay.
After an embarrassing performance in Game 1, the Islanders came back strong with their effort in Game 2. Yes, the Isles ended up losing 2-1 after a handful of mental mistakes cost them, but there was a significantly better effort in this contest.
Now, with Game 3 a must-win, the Islanders are going to have to increase their effort even more so in order to have a shot against this Lightning team.
Here’s my three predictions for Game 3:
Casey Cizikas Finally Scores
The fourth line looked really good in Game 2, as Matt Martin had the only goal of the game for the Islanders. I think that trend continues tonight, as Barry Trotz will rely on this line heavily as they tend to play mistake-free hockey.
While Casey Cizikas has been good defensively, he has been held without a goal for the entirety of the playoffs. That ends tonight. In his 19th playoff game this year, he nets his first goal of the playoffs for the Islanders.
In the regular season, he never went more than 10 games without a goal. To say he’s due would be an understatement.
Brock Nelson Comes Back Strong
Brock Nelson took two dirty hits in Game 2, one from Alex Killorn who is suspended for Game 3, and the other from Barclay Goodrow who was let off without any repercussions for his play along the boards.
Anyway, I think Nelson comes out motivated tonight and leads the team in minutes in a dominant effort. The second line will have the most chances for the Islanders tonight and I’ll say he leaves Game 3 with a point.
Both Teams Combine For Under 5 Goals
I think we see another low scoring affair tonight. Andrei Vasilevskiy was excellent in Game 2 and I expect the former Vezina winner’s play to continue to be on point in this series. Due to the Trotz system, I think Semyon Varlamov gives the Islanders a .920+ save percentage tonight.
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For a final score, I’ll take the Islanders 2-1 with goals from Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson, and Nikita Kucherov. The Isles will have a chance to tie up the series on Sunday.