NY Islanders head coach Patrick Roy: "The heartbreaking loss was Game 1"

Apr 20, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders head coach Patrick Roy and assistant
Apr 20, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders head coach Patrick Roy and assistant / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Islanders are unable to make a series comeback no one expects them to make, their trip to the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be mostly remembered for the Carolina Hurricanes, overwhelming the Islanders and completing a three-goal comeback in Game 2.

The Isles allowed three goals in 1:19, including the game-tying goal and game-winning goal just nine seconds apart. That game will always be part of Canes' lure. The Islanders had never lost a playoff game when leading by three goals at any point until Monday night. They're now 81-1.

For those reasons and others, the loss has been categorized as a "gut punch" or "devastating" and often referred to as "heartbreaking." However, it wasn't that for head coach Patrick Roy. The heartbreak came two nights earlier.

“A lot of you see last game as a heartbreaking loss,” Roy said Wednesday after practice. “But for me the heartbreaking loss was Game 1, because that’s the game we outplayed them. That’s the game we played better than what they did. Game 2, they deserved it; they played better than us.”

Did the loss sting? You bet, but Roy is right, it's not a heartbreaking loss when every fan and player knows the opposition was the better and more deserving team. If Carolina had stole a game the Islanders led 3-0 in, that would qualify, but it was the Islanders that appeared to be the fortunate team to steal a win up until the unfortunate events of the final minutes transpired.

The message coming out of Game 1 was that while the Isles' loss, there was a blueprint on how to play the Canes and limit the shots. Although they were unable to execute the plan in Game 2, that doesn't mean the plan is changing for Game 3. The Islanders need to be better on their breakouts, prevent Carolina from cycling in the offensive zone and cutting plays off when they try to put the puck bad deep. They did it once, and tonight at UBS Arena, they'll do it again.

If Roy feels heartbroken after Game 3, it means the Islanders played the way he wants them to and they were able to replicate all the good things they did, but did get rewarded for in Game 1.