Ears are still ringing and hangovers still clearing from Friday night’s thrilling Game 3 win for the Islanders, and already they’re back at it at mid-day (1:00 p.m. EDT) Sunday for Game 4.
Can the team, the fans and the building replicate the atmosphere from Friday’s madhouse vibe during the first-ever playoff game at the [bank of some sort] Arena? It would behoove all involved to do so, as it’s another classic pivotal Game 4, where the outcome is either a new series at 2-2 or a walk to the gallows at 1-3.
The narratives coming out of the destined-for-overtime-turned-blowout Game 3 were these:
- The Islanders have been sticking to “their game” and “building it” all series long, and finally got rewarded late in the third game. Momentum shift?
- Related to the above, the Islanders’ physical approach might be starting to wear on the Hurricanes, which is by design.
- The Hurricanes were already upping their own physical game compared to the regular season, but they may want to turn it up a degree, at least according to Jordan Staal.
- Antti Raanta has done nothing wrong — he’s at least matched Ilya Sorokin — but the Hurricanes have three goalies they aren’t afraid to use.
Sources for such themes follow...
- Headlines that seldom age well: “The Islanders may have just seized the momentum in Game 3.” [Athletic]
- A more rational headline: The Isles finally have a “toehold” in the series. [Newsday]
- The Isles aim to continue with the ugly, or the physical, or the defensively sound, etc. [Post]
- Three keys for Game 4: This is where they imply the Hurricanes could do some more hitting, and could make a goalie switch. [NHL]
- The Isles brought the drama, fans brought the noise in Game 3. [NHL]
- Jon Ledecky hopes they prove they are built for the playoffs. [Newsday]
- He also does nice things like handing out tickets to families battling cancer. [Newsday]
- Rod Brind’Amour is focused on the Hurricanes returning to a productive power play. [Post]
- LIRR riders complained about the rollout of “gating” at the arena stop. [Newsday]
SO much overtime last night!
- Vegas went two overtimes to beat the Jets in Winnipeg. Michael Amadio picked a great time for his first NHL playoff goal, a slapper. [NHL]
- The Lightning outplayed the Leafs, but were robbed of an insurance goal by a premature “intent to blow earlier” or something, then gave up the equalizer with a minute to go, and lost in the final minute of OT to Morgan Rielly [sic], who at one point looked like he would be ejected before the refs reviewed it and decided there was no penalty at all.
- Auston Matthews was pulled into his first NHL fight, with Steven Stamkos, after the Lightning stars reacted to what looked like an ugly hit by Rielly on Brayden Point. [Sportsnet]
- The Lightning did have Victor Hedman back for Game 3. [TSN]
- Over among the lesser metro teams, Dougie Hamilton, the stone that the Bruins, Flames and Hurricanes rejected, became the cornerstone when he ripped the OT winner upstairs to keep the Devils in the series and silence the World’s Most Self-Congratulatory Arena. [NHL’s]
- The loss was doubly brutal for the Jets, as they lost #1 workhorse Josh Morrissey for the rest of the series. [NHL | Sportsnet]
- With two longtime Bruins centers out, Charlie Coyle stepped up in Game 3. [NHL]
- One of those centers, Patrice Bergeron, was texting tips and observations to the coaching staff ahead of Game 4. [NHL]
- The Oilers say they just need to keep trusting their process. [Sportsnet]