Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semifinal went about as well as can be expected for the New York Islanders: They “got to their game” early, kept the Lightning from establishing any flow, stayed discipline and damn near pitched a shutout before NikiLTIRa Caperov (KIDDING, Lightning fans, chill) got the best of a crosscheck duel to create a last-minute power play with a sixth attacker.
As with any playoff game (except thorough demolition Game 6 clinchers), there were many moments — and some big Semyon Varlamov saves — that could’ve turned the game a different way way. But it was a good sign that the Isles were able to be on the front foot, all but eliminate rushes, and keep the Lightning at bay.
No doubt, and as underlined in post-game coverage, the Lightning will have a more disciplined approach in Tuesday’s Game 2.
- Jenny with our recap: “This team keeps getting better and better.” [LHH]
- Lightning coach Jon Cooper: “Our work ethic was there, our compete was there, our minds weren’t there. ... Some of our decisions were poor. Managing the puck is a big thing against this team. They managed it better than us.” [NHL | ESPN]
- More from Cooper: “It’s weird because we’re playing some really contrasting style teams,” referencing the Isles vs. the Hurricanes. “The Islanders do what they do, and they do it extremely well. We saw it, so now it’s on us to pick it apart.” [NHL]
- Ryan Pulock was snake bitten in the goal department all season, but we’ll happily take this positive regression now, in the form of three game-winning goals. “I knew it would come, but obviously come playoff time, it’s nice to contribute in that way.” [Isles | Newsday]
- A “dominating” one-goal win? Kind of felt that way, yeah. [Staple @ The Athletic]
- The Lightning won’t panic, and realize they have to be more patient. [Smith @ The Athletic]
- Valarmov was on point, and Vasilevskiy proved beatable at a pivotal moment. [Newsday]
- Mathew Barzal’s hot run continues into the new series. [Newsday]
- More Newsday coverage: Recap | Photos]
- The Isles stuck to the plan. Trotz: “It doesn’t matter who we play against. We know who we are. We’ve got to play the way we have to, and it was good.” [NHL]
- Five (or so) Takeaways, on discipline, goaltending, expecting adjustments in the next game. [Isles]
- The Islanders managed playoff intensity to perfection. [Sportsnet]
- A massive Game 1 win for the Isles. [Post]
- Brooks: Rude awakening for the Lightning. [Post]
- Also from Brooks, who loves little more than poking holes in the NHL cap: Really pulling for Marian Gaborik in his quest to win a ring as a retired Lightning LTIR guy. [Post]
- Lots of trivia per usual, including: Yesterday was the first time since 1983 that Isles have opened the semifinal with a victory. (Remind me again what happened that year?) [NYI Skinny]
- TSN loves hockey so much they have “staff” assigned to this Stanley Cup semifinal series. [TSN]
- Also: Adam Pelech was big again in Game 1. Before the game, his biggest fan Spizzwolf had a compilation video of some of the many ways he ruined summer for the Bruins. [LHH]
- Schmidt from “New Girl” sent an Isles pump-up video. [Isles]
Thus Spaketh Trotz
Excerpts and pull-quotes are nice, but I always enjoy the full coach post-game. Trotz likewise praised the puck management.
“I think, number one, is just managing the puck. Two, we were disciplined. Three, we didn’t take a lot of unnecessary risk. All that game management and puck management, checked with our feet, and I thought we made pretty good decisions.”— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 13, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/AfIQzb0vtF
By the way our franchise co-owner is awesome, as you knew, and he attended the game with some of the Isles Meetup Tampa crew. (There were meetups all over, check this #Islesmeetups hashtag for some great pic and videos. Love seeing the baby strollers.)
The Empire Strikes Lightning...
- The other semifinal kicks off tonight, the Canadiens in Vegas. Previewing that series: [Sportsnet | NHL | Habs Eyes On the Prize]
- Vegas is entering the series healthier than it began the playoffs. [Knights on Ice]
- The Bruins could be in for major changes this summer. [Sportsnet]
- The Jets face lots of decisions, too. [Sportsnet]