The New York Islanders will try to repeat history tonight when they look to complete the sweep of the Washington Capitals in the First Round of the playoffs.
The Islanders haven’t waivered from their message about just how tough a task that will be. Andy Greene was the latest member of the team to highlight that point when he spoke to reporters this afternoon over Zoom.
“We’re going to get their best game tonight,” Greene said. “We have to be able to match it and be a determined group out there. It is always the toughest game and we have to make sure we’re ready right from the start. We know they’re going to be ready and we have to go from there.”
Greene and Leo Komarov were made available to the media this afternoon so it’s safe to assume the two will remain in the lineup for Game 4. Thus, the Islanders lineup will remain unchanged from the previous game.
The Islanders have iced the same lineup since Game 4 of the Qualifying Round against the Florida Panthers.
Semyon Varlamov will return to guard the net as well after a stellar performance in game 3. Varlamov made 22 saves and had his most notably strong effort of the playoffs.
Ahead of Game 4, the Islanders message has remained consistent and simple: Stick to the gameplan. The Islanders have continued to be dominant when they stick to their style of play and keep the game at five on five.
That hasn’t changed.
morning skate in toronto ✅ pic.twitter.com/043oUU8Bjz
— x-new york islanders (@NYIslanders) August 18, 2020
“Play our game. Do what we do,” Trotz said about the messaging to his team. “Get to our game. Get to it quickly and stay with it.”
Tonight marks the second time this postseason that the Islanders have been in a position to sweep a team. The Islanders had a 2-0 series lead in the Qualifying Round heading into Game 3, which the Islanders lost 3-2 to Florida.
Trotz doesn’t want to see the Islanders do a whole lot differently from Game 3 against the Panthers, but mentioned he’d like to see them play a little less loose than they did then.
“I thought we actually played pretty well in that game,” Trotz said. “The number one thing is get to our identity quick. Get to our game quick and have a good start. See if we can continue on. I thought we were a little bit loose in that game. I just don’t want us to be loose.
“I think we understand what’s at stake. We understand our opponent. I didn’t like our game in some areas last game. Hopefully, we tighten that up and we’re better today.”
The Islanders bench boss was likely referring to the team’s power play, which struggled last game and went 0-for-5.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS PROJECTED LINES
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Derick Brassard — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
We’ll know at game time if Nicklas Backstrom is back in the Capitals lineup tonight. Washington head coach Todd Reirden said that he would be a game-time decision.
Backstrom has missed the last two games of the series following a hit by Anders Lee in the first period of Game 1.
“Nick was on the ice with us for the entire practice,” Reirden said after the Capitals morning skate. “Like him and a few other guys it’s a game-time decision for what our lineup is come 8 O’clock tonight.”
Martin Fehervary did not skate this morning with the Capitals, however, and he will not play in Game 4, Reirden said. Fehervary saw 11:31 of ice time during Game 3 against the New York Islanders.
The Capitals will try to bring the physicality right off the bat to throw the Islanders off their game. Reirden is preaching the mentality of just focusing at the task at hand.
“Right now all we’re focusing on is winning one hockey game,” Reirden said. “That starts with beating the guy across from you and doing it continually. Shift after shift and that’s where our mindset is right now.”
The Islanders have had 3-0 series leads 10 previous times in franchise history. They closed out all 10 series, with sweeps occurring in seven of them. … The Islanders extended their stretch of allowing fewer than 30 shots to eight games. This is the first time they’ve done since a stretch in April-May of 1984. … Anders Lee enters tonight’s game with a three-game point streak (three goals). It is the longest point streak among Islanders players during this postseason. … The Capitals are 23-21 all-time in Game 4 situations. … Alex Ovechkin has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 20 career game 4s. … Braden Holtby is one win away from becoming the 21st goaltender in league history to record 50 wins in the playoffs.
HOW TO WATCH
Locally the game will air on MSG+ and MSG GO, and nationally on NBCSN. For those outside the New York market, the game can also be streamed on NHL.TV. 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.