After falling behind 2-1 in a series for the third straight time, the New York Islanders have to make an adjustment in order to get back in the series. Like the last round against Boston, a 2-1 loss in Game 3 does not mean the sky is falling.
The Isles were in these two games that they lost, they just have to make a slight adjustment to the way they’ve played over the last couple.
Here are three ways the Islanders can come away with a victory tonight in Game 4:
Do Not Give The Lightning Power Plays
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a whopping 38.6% on the power play in the playoffs so far. With the amount of high-end skill they have on their roster, they tend to thrive on the man advantage. It doesn’t help that the Isles have only killed 64.7% of penalties in their 15 playoff games.
Anyway, even though the Lightning didn’t score on the power play in Game 3, technically, their game-winning goal came just after the man advantage expired.
Too many times over the last two games, it’s been unnecessary mistakes that put Tampa on the power play. If the Islanders want to win this game, they have to play it 5v5. If you want to get into a special team’s contest, it won’t go well (see Game 2).
Mathew Barzal Stays Hot
In Games where Mat Barzal has a goal, the Islanders have been unbelievable. Since Barry Trotz has been behind the bench, the Isles are 31-9-7 when Barzal puts the puck in the back of the net.
More often than not, this team fairs well when Barzal is playing his best. It’s a rarity that Barzal has a good day and the team loses. With eight points in his last eight games, the Isles need this version of Barzal to continue.
With Eberle and Komarov on his wing, Barzy is going to be asked to do the heavy lifting. Can he do it again?
Keep Pucks To The Outside
What the Islanders did so well in Game 1 was keep the Lightning’s chances to the outside. Tampa had 31 shots but the number of quality chances were way down. Off the rush, the Islanders had nine chances to the Lightning’s zero.
They need a repeat performance to get back in the win column. We know the Islanders can play suffocating defense, they’ve done it before in this series, if they’re going to beat Tampa in this series they need more of that.
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If this turns into a run-and-gun series then the Isles are screwed, but if it remains low scoring, even like Game 3, the Islanders can absolutely survive.