By Rob Simpson
Special to NYI Hockey Now
Editors Note: Rob Simpson will be providing coverage from inside the Toronto bubble throughout the playoffs for NYI Hockey Now and the Hockey Now network of sites.
TORONTO — This has been a very even series; shots, hits, blocks, face-offs, everything is pretty close statistically game to game. New York won the special teams battle Tuesday, Florida did it on Wednesday. The overall difference comes down to momentum, puck battles, and opportunism.
In Games 1 and 2, the Islanders took advantage of the Panthers lack of discipline and their sometimes lackadaisical play in their own end. Florida knew they couldn’t get away with these bad tendencies against the tight-checking, counter-attacking club from Long Island. So Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville pulled the trigger, swapping in five new bodies for Game 3.