Today’s Game 4 is, officially, the Islanders’ biggest game since 1984. This is their deepest run since 1993, and that team only won a consolation Game 4 after going down 3-0 to the Canadiens. That team didn’t have really any chance to win the series when they won their lone game.
But the Islanders, with a win today, will be closer to the Stanley Cup than they have been in the last 36 years. They would also draw even with the Lightning and create a best-of-3 scenario.
As Barry Trotz acknowledged in the first article you’ll read below, there’s no way Tampa Bay wants to let that happen. So the Islanders will have to be prepared for the Lightning’s quick start.
- The Islanders must maintain the same focus they had in Game 3. Man, I’m so pumped for this. [Newsday]
- Here’s the team site’s official preview of Game 4. [Islanders]
- Trotz doesn’t have any big speeches planned for today. He knows his guys are motivated. [Newsday]
- Casey Cizikas is a game-time decision again today. Leo Komarov at center wasn’t horrendous but I’d rather not see it again. [Newsday]
- Keys to the game today include the possibility Brayden Point is not available for the Lightning and the Islanders slowing down the pace. [NHL]
- Lou Lamoriello won the Jim Gregory Award for best general manager yesterday. He accepted it but called it a reflection of the organization. [LHH | Islanders | Newsday]
"Anytime you have an award in a team atmosphere it’s really shared with everyone... It wouldn’t happen unless you had the people around you. I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by not only talented people, but great people."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 13, 2020
Lou’s full interview: https://t.co/rKKzBMr5sy pic.twitter.com/NadSSKqd47
- As one of the greatest team builders in NHL history, he’s more than deserving. And the award was only created in 2010, which explains why he never won before. [THN]
- A good time to revisit reader Bob Ditt’s surprisingly prescient FanPost from around the time Lou was hired. [LHH]
- Trotz and Bolts coach Jon Cooper went to the same prep school in the tiny village of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, population 264. Pretty wild. [NHL]
- The longer the Islanders are in the bubble, the more practice time Ilya Sorokin gets. Since we don’t know when or how next season will go, this is invaluable. [Newsday]
- Speaking of Russian goalies, the NHL’s final four are dominated by a trio of Russian goalies: our very own Semyon Varlamov, Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the Stars’ Anton Khudobin. [NHL]
- The Offside Tavern is taking one last shift on this Islanders playoff run. Going to be sad to see them go. I gotta make sure I get there one more time. [NYI Hockey Now]
- Today is September 13. But yesterday, September 12, was the 14th anniversary of the signing of Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract. Pretty wild that we’d only be entering the last season of that in 2020-21. [Islanders]
Last night, the Golden Knights really took it to the Stars. But Khudobin is feeling himself right now and he pretty much single-handedly won Game 4 and gave Dallas a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final.
- Dallas GM Jim Nill said that interim coach Rick Bowness earned the chance to remain with the Stars if he wants to. [NHL]
- Similarly, the Flames are leaning toward taking the interim tag off of Geoff Ward and keeping him around for next season. [Sportsnet]
- The Penguins, in a cap dump, sent forward Nick Bjugstad home to Minnesota with some salary retained. The Wild sent back a conditional pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. [NHL]
- And the Canadiens acquired the rights to defenseman Joel Edmundson from the Hurricanes for a pick. Edmundson is set to become a UFA on October 9. [NHL]
- Ryan Callahan and Clarke MacArthur haven’t been able to play for a while now, but they were still collecting paychecks from the Senators. It wasn’t the ending they saw to their careers, but they are happy to have the guilt of their contract paying them for not playing off their consciences. They’re hanging in there. [The Athletic]