The New York Islanders aren’t showing any panic over their 0-2 series hole they find themselves in against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight at 8 p.m. and the Islanders could be staring down elimination if they don’t come away with a win.
The Islanders were happy with their Game 2 effort and understand that adversity comes with playing this deep into the playoffs.
“You’ve heard Barry (Trotz) say it, it’s not a straight line you have to go through obstacles,” Jordan Eberle said this afternoon. “That’s just where we’re at right now. We’re in a little bit of adversity and obviously we get a win today. and start looking forward to the next one. It’s a best of seven. You’re not out until you’re out.”
It’s another game of guessing who will be in and out of the Islanders lineup. Brock Nelson missed part of Game 2 after taking a dangerous hit from Alex Killorn in the second period. Nelson did return to play in the game and said he was OK afterward.
The Islanders did not skate on Thursday and Trotz indicated one player on the team could be a game-time decision. The Islanders head coach did not specify who he was talking about.
Also in question is who will be in net for the Isles. Semyon Varlamov got the nod in Game 2 after Greiss started Game 1, but was pulled in the first period.
“It was a good group effort. I think we played the right way and we didn’t get the results,” Trotz said. “We’re going to have to make it harder on (Andrei) Vasilevskiy. We’re going to have to capitalize on our chances and see if we don’t have any breakdowns. I thought we played a real solid other than the last 30 seconds of that game.”
Tampa bay will be without Killorn, who is serving a one-game suspension for his hit on Nelson in Game 2. They could also be missing Brayden Point who was injured in Game 2.
The Loss of Point would hurt Tampa, since he has been one of their best players with a point in 13 of their last 15 playoff games. He has eight goals and 15 assists this postseason.
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper did not reveal anything about his lineup when he addressed reporters this afternoon.
“You’re missing some guys that if there were fans. in the stands those are the guys who pull you out of your seat,” Cooper said referring to the absence of Stamkos and potentially Point. “Pointer drives the play and everybody contributes in their own way, but there’s a few guys that drive and Pointer is one of them.”
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
Matt Martin became the eighth Islanders player in the last 27 years to score five goals in the playoffs. … The Islanders are 3-9 when dropping the first two games of a seven-game series. The last time they won a series after trailing 0-2 was in 1984 against Montreal. … The Islanders penalty kill is 11-for-59 during the postseason. … Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents 27-10 during their six-game postseason winning streak. … Tampa Bay is 16-10 all-time in Game 3 situations. They have won three out of the five Game 3s they’ve played in during the Eastern Conference Finals. … Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his NHL-leading 12th win of the postseason in Game 2 against the Islanders.
How to Watch
Game 3 will air locally and nationally on USA Network. On the radio dial, the game will air on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.