On the other hand, a 2-2 tie would be beautiful. The series would be a best-of-three, and beating the Lightning twice in three games, while difficult, would be possible. They also would guarantee at least one more game back at the friendly confines of Nassau Coliseum.
The Isles, as has been said many times, have come back from down 2-1 to rattle off three straight wins in their two previous series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. The Pens and Bs are two good teams, and the Isles found a way to beat them.
I do not know if they will be able to pull off the same feat against the Bolts, who still have not lost back-to-back playoff games since getting swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019. They are up to 11-0 in playoff games following a loss, and if the Islanders want to win this series now, they will have to hand Tampa Bay consecutive losses at some point.
Frankly, the law of averages dictates that their streak cannot continue forever. The Islanders have been in every game this series. And I trust them, perhaps more than any other team, to break that streak.
It starts tonight, though. Win Game 4, just as they have done in the two previous series, and go from there.
Islanders vs. Lightning News
- The team site previews the critical Game 4. [Islanders]
- Had the Islanders not trailed 2-1 twice before this postseason, Barry Trotz says perhaps there would be some doubt in the room. But they know what they have to do. [Newsday]
- Oliver Wahlstrom finally may crack the lineup again tonight. Trotz is a little worried about rocking the boat, but the lineup could use a little rocking. [Newsday | NHL]
- Neil Best feels that the Isles absolutely should re-insert Wahlstrom. They need an offensive jolt against the Lightning. [Newsday]
- A thorough look-back at how GM and President Lou Lamoriello shaped this Islanders team. [Sportsnet]
- Always good to hear from Barry.
- Not playoffs, but the centered scoreboard is going up.
Some of you may have noticed some activity on the floor…work on our center-hung scoreboard has begun! The team at @Daktronics have been on-site this week building the steel structure. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/1r578uuYWw— x - UBS Arena (@UBSArena) June 18, 2021
Beyond Long Island and West Florida
The Vegas Golden Knights controlled Game 3 but could not score more than twice against Carey Price. Still, they looked poised to hold onto a 2-1 win when vintage playoff Marc-Andre Fleury showed up, gift-wrapping the tying goal for Josh Anderson with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Anderson went on to score the game-winner, and the Montreal Canadiens lead that Semifinal 2-1.
- The Habs did it all without their head coach, Dominique Ducharme. He tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss a minimum of ten days. Old friend Luke Richardson, a Montreal assistant coach, ran the bench. [Sportsnet]
- Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov won the Selke Trophy. [Sportsnet]
- Pierre LeBrun says that Team Canada looks at playoff performances to see who can rise to the occasion. Among those whose stock has risen: Mathew Barzal, Adam Pelech, and Ryan Pulock. [The Athletic]