New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has had a knack of knowing when to use a timeout during the playoffs to calm his team down. He did it against Boston when they were surging and cut a 5-2 Islander lead to a 5-4 lead in Game 5 last round and on Saturday his timeout after Tampa Bay’s second goal helped the Isles regain their form in their 3-2 Game 4 win.
The Islanders had carried a 3-0 lead into the third period of Game 4 when Tampa put the screws to the Islanders in the final 20 minutes. The defending Stanley Cup champs quickly turned it on, potting their first goal 3:45 into the third off a hard shot from Brayden Point, who has scored in every game of the series so far.
Then just over three minutes later, Tyler Johnson walked around the Islanders’ defense and then tucked a shot into the corner to cut the Islanders lead to one. That’s when Barry called his guys over to talk to them.
“I didn’t have to say a lot,” Trotz said about his message during the timeout. “This is a pretty mature group. I just said, ‘listen we have 10 minutes to go. We’ve been here before. Let’s just take a deep breath and worry about taking care of business in the last 10 minutes.’ I’ve said it to (the media) all the time, you can’t look back. You can’t redo stuff once they’re done, just look forward, and we were still winning the game with almost 10 minutes to go.
“To me, that was a really good sign. Our bench wasn’t panicking and we just took a deep breath and said, OK let’s go to work.”
The New York Islanders were able to stabilize the game for the remainder of the third. They did allow six more shots on net and Tampa generated a few more chances, but the timeout allowed the Islanders to get back to playing their style.
“It’s just a little break. I think we knew they were going to have a push and they popped a couple in so it’s kind of taking a step back,” Scott Mayfield said about the timeout less than 24 hours after the Islanders’ monumental win. “Just kind of regrouping a little bit and I think we had some big shifts pretty soon after that.
“They still got their chances, they have a lot of offense, so maybe with a lead we just have to find that a little bit sooner. Stay aggressive on them and play our game, but it’s nice that we got the timeout and we were able to regroup and get the win.”
Ryan Pulock’s play at the end of the game to save a Tampa goal from forcing overtime understandably is getting the headlines, but Trotz’s timeout at 6:43 helped the New York Islanders curb the momentum.