There is no room for error.
The New York Islanders season is on the line in Game 5 tonight of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. New York trails the series 3-1.
The Islanders lineup could see some changes tonight, but no specifics were given by head coach Barry Trotz. The Islanders coach told reporters this afternoon that a lot of different variables went into deciding the roster.
“We went over as a staff what elements can we bring into the group,” Trotz said. “Physically, emotionally, energy-wise those type of things. We talk about all of those. Also talked about combinations. Obviously a lot of getting to Barzal’s line. A lot of times you challenge your top players and they know. … Or you make subtle changes. We’ve discussed all of that and we will go with a plan today.
“It’s well thought out and we’ll see if it works tonight.”
Semyon Varlamov started Game 4 on Sunday and made 32 saves in the 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay. There is a reasonable chance that Varlamov gets the nod again in net. Ross Johnston was also in the lineup for the Islanders in Game 4 on Sunday.
Brayden Point returned to the Tampa Bay lineup on Sunday, but didn’t play the final eight minutes of the game. He was in pain after taking a hit from Adam Pelech in the third period.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Anthony Beauvillier — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anders Lee — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Matt Martin — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Cal Clutterbuck
Ross Johnston — Leo Komarov — Derick Brassard
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
Tampa Bay Lightning Lineup (Projected)
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Blake Coleman
Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Tyler Johnson
Pat Maroon — Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman — Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
A win in Game 5 for Tampa Bay would set a new franchise record for the fewest games needed to reach the Stanley Cup Final, doing so in 15 games. They would become the 14th team in league history to do so in 15 or fewer games since the playoffs went to a best-of-seven format in 1987. … Tampa is a perfect 8-0 when they lead a series 3-1 and have closed out the series in the fifth game on seven occasions. … Nikita Kucherov’s nine points (two goals, seven assists) leads Tampa Bay in scoring in the Eastern Conference Finals. … The last team to win a conference final game after trailing 3-1 was the 2000 New Jersey Devils, who were run by current Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. … Matt Martin’s four hits in Game 4 increased his playoff total to 96, which is the most by any skater in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. … The Islanders are 27-21 all-time when facing elimination and have come back twice from a 3-1 series deficit.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air on NBCSN in the United States and CBC, Sportsnet and TVA in Canada. 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.