I get why the New York Islanders might want to simply forget that 8-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. I get the sentiment to “burn the tape” on that performance and move on. But I’d counter that the Islanders need to watch how that game went.
Specifically the first period.
I understand that maybe there’s isn’t much value in re-watching the second period and that there is no value in re-watching the third. But that first period needs to be observed. Because that’s where the Islanders lost Game 5.
New York Islanders need to see where they went wrong
The Islanders’ performance in the opening period of Game 5 was entirely out of character. They had no energy, no pace, they lost every puck battle, they had no defensive shape or structure, and couldn’t manage the puck.
All of those are supposed to be hallmarks of the Isles system. They were all absent in the first period. Which allowed Tampa to carve out countless opportunities in the opening frame.
The Isles allowed eight high-danger chances against in that opening frame. Just to put that number in perspective, they’ve allowed eight or fewer high-danger chances against in a full game nine times in the post-season.
What happened in the first period yesterday was inexcusable.
At least in last year’s 8-2 semi-final loss to the Lightning, the Islanders didn’t get a break from playing a Game 7 against the Flyers before playing Tampa. They quite literally traveled across Canada between that Philly game and the Tampa game. Tampa had a six-day break to travel and get settled in the Edmonton bubble before the Islanders series.
The Isles didn’t have that excuse this time. Both teams played on Monday and both traveled to Tampa for yesterday’s game. There was no reason for the Islanders to come out of the gate so flat in Game 5. None.
Watch the tape, point the mistakes, air them out and make sure they don’t happen again.