The New York Islanders have a second chance to close out the Capitals, and they’d of course be wise to make the most of it. While things looked great in the first period of Game 4 — as Dan and Mike discussed on Islanders Anxiety, it felt like we were cruising to a sweep — the Capitals punched back, and hard.
They were in this position last round, albeit in a smaller best-of-five, when they failed to sweep the Panthers in Game 3 but then roared back to end the series in Game 4.
#Isles Bailey on the team bouncing back to take Florida series:— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) August 20, 2020
“We certainly would like to repeat that, it’s not going to be easy. We have a long day here to make sure we’re mentally prepared and focused. You got embrace the opportunity, these are fun games to be a part of."
Lineup complications? Possibly. Cal Clutterbuck, who took that submarine check from Radko Gudas in Game 4, has been changed to “game-time decision.”
Likewise Nicklas Backstrom, the rather significant Capitals star center who has been out since early in Game 1.
trotz addresses the media ahead of game 5: pic.twitter.com/2pQQB9QUew— new york islanders (@NYIslanders) August 20, 2020
If you didn’t watch all that, specifically on Backstrom:
Trotz said #Isles have been preparing as though Backstrom was going to play all along. "He's on the board. We talk about his impact if he's in; he just hasn't been in. It doesn't change our approach, but he's a very good hockey player and a big piece of the Capitals." #Caps— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) August 20, 2020
One of the things that stood out so sorely in Game 4 was how badly the Islanders power play’s struggle is hurting them. They have been outstanding at 5-on-5, but the Capitals were taking lots of desperation-game risks, without worry for the consequences. Add to it the Islanders’ untimely penalties and you have a horrible mix, getting them away from what they do best.
Anyway, onward. Tonight’s another chance. Game time is 8 p.m. EDT in Toronto.
All of the sudden, there are only four series still going in this round, with several ending at 4-1 over the past few days. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Islanders to add to that tally?