The New York Islanders run in the playoffs is starting to feel like the movie GroundHog, or if you’re looking for a more modern reference, the movie Palm Springs. Regardless of the pop culture likening, the Islanders are again down 2-1 in a playoff series heading into Game 4 at home.
It happened against Pittsburgh. It happened against Boston and now it’s happening against Tampa Bay.
The Islanders have become creatures of habit during their 2021 playoff run, which continues to follow the same script each round. Aside from the already casual demeanor the Islanders have had during the playoffs, having been in this position gives them a certain sense of added calmness.
“We’ve had success being in this position in the previous two rounds,” Barry Trotz said on Friday. “Absolutely, you look back and we’ve been here before. We just have to take care of business here. If you haven’t done it before you always have that doubt, but we’ve done it twice already. We didn’t lose the series (Thursday) night and, in some ways, the series might have just begun.”
The New York Islanders lost the defensive battle with Tampa Bay on Thursday night in a 2-1 loss at Nassau Coliseum and Cal Clutterbuck was the only Islanders to find the back of the net.
It was far from the Islanders’ best game, still, it didn’t keep Trotz from looking back to the previous series and believing the Islanders can do the same in Game 4.
“As we’ve gone along, and every series I look back at, even the Boston series, I thought we should have had Game 3 and we lost,” Trotz explained. “We were deflated and it was no different (in Game 3), we were a little deflated because we thought we put out a strong effort and we thought we should be going into overtime. That didn’t happen. So, you just park it and we look forward to the opportunity (in Game 4).
“Absolutely, we can look back at the previous experiences and we’ve had good success.”
Trotz said on Friday that the Islanders were considering some lineup changes. He didn’t reveal anything about his lineup following the team’s morning skate on Saturday,
Oliver Wahlstrom could return to the New York Islanders lineup in his old spot alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Palmieri. Semyon Varlamov will likely get the start for the Islanders once again.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Tampa Bay Lightning Lineup (Projected)
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Blake Coleman
Ross Colton — Tyler Johnson — Pat Maroon
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — David Savard
Casey Cizikas has gone 50.0% or better in the face-off dot in nine straight games and 14 times this postseason. … The Islanders have six players with ten or more points this postseason, the most in the league (Pageau 13, Bailey 12, Beauvillier 11, Barzal 11, Nelson 11 & Eberle 10). … The Islanders are 4-2 on home ice this postseason and rank second in the league with a .667 win percentage. They are 12-8 at home over the past three postseasons under Head Coach Barry Trotz. … Tampa Bay scored the opening goal in Game 3 and are 10-1 this year in the playoffs when they do so. … Victor Hedman’s 14 points (1 goal, 13 assist) lead all NHL defensemen in scoring. … Brayden Points is caring a six-game playoff goal streak into Game 4 and currently leads the NHL in playoff goals with 11.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air on USA Network at 8 p.m. On the radio dial, Chris King and Greg Picker will call the game on the Islanders Radio Network. 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio will carry tonight’s Game 4 radio broadcast.