A demoralizing 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 leads to a 3-1 series deficit for the New York Islanders.
It’s not over yet for the New York Islanders, although a 3-1 deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals after a 4-1 loss certainly seems like it is.
But since 2010, eight teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NHL. In the decade before that, it was seven teams. So coming back from a 3-1 series hole may sound impossible but it isn’t.
Although, if the Islanders continue to play like they did today it will certainly be impossible for them to make the Stanley Cup Finals.
There was some bad news for the New York Islanders before a puck was even dropped when we found out Casey Cizikas and Tom Kuhnhackl had left the bubble with an injury. The lineup would look the same from the last game but Michael Dal Colle, who had a good Game 3, was withdrawn for Ross Johnston.
With a big win in Game 3, the Islanders should have come out confident in Game 4. But in the opening minutes of the period, the Isles got shelled. Through the opening quarter of the period, the attempts were 11-1 in favor of the Lightning.
That’s just not how you win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the level of skill the Lightning possesses in their lineup even with Stamkos out, giving them chances will backfire.
Thankfully, Semyon Varlamov was back to his early playoff form. He stopped all four high danger chances Tampa had to keep his team in it.
Flurry of Goals
The second started with the Isles on the PK after Matt Martin takes a slapshot on Andrei Vasilevskiy after the whistle. With a PK operating at 60 percent through this series gifting the Lightning a lifeline was not a good idea.
But then again, you pay guys like Matt Martin to walk a fine line. So when they inevitably walk over the line you have to be able to live with it. By killing the penalty they did.
It only took 27 seconds for this game to run the gamut of emotions.
puts up this incredible solo effort that had me up and out of my chair. I’m glad my family was out of the house when he scored because I’m sure my sudden screams would have given them heart palpitations.
picked up the only assist on that play. That was his 18th of the postseason. Only Bryan Trottier in 1981-82 and Bob Bourne in 1982-83 have more helpers in a single postseason in franchise history with 23 and 20, respectively.
And then, not only did Tampa answer but they got the go-ahead goal in just twelve seconds.
First, it was Coleman who gets on the end of a nice lobbed stretch pass that caught the Isles napping. Then it was a set play zone entry by the Lightning where Ondrej Palat scores his eighth of the postseason.
Within seconds, the game went from celebration to capitulation.
Mistakes Were Made
Mathew Barzal isn’t a defenseman, but as a center, it’s sometimes necessary to play the role. Barry Trotz has been working on Barzal’s two-way play ever since he arrived behind the bench in 2018. Barry isn’t going to be happy with his star player after some poor play on Tampa’s third goal of the evening.
All Barzal needed to do on that third goal was to get the inside position on Brayden Point. Heck even getting the outside position would have been something, but Barzal just peeled off his man giving him full access to tap in the easy goal.
Add a Pat Maroon empty netter and the Lightning take a 3-1 series stranglehold lead over the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the Jets losing and the Mets down 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth at the time of writing, it wasn’t a good day for New York sports.
Ondrej Palat: 1G (GWG), 1A
Brayden Point: 1G, 1A
Yanni Gourde: 2A