After Winning Game One, The Islanders Are Focused on Turning The Page

Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

A best of seven playoff series, in any sport, is generally a marathon and not a sprint.  So, after a 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins on Sunday in game one of their opening round series, the Isles are now focused on forgetting all about it and moving on to the task at hand and that is game two on Tuesday night (730pm MSG+).

“I think it’s important in any series,” said Islanders forward Matt Martin.  “You focus on one game at a time.  It’s a race to four.  We did a good job picking up the first game and now our goal is to make it a 2-0 series.  We know it’s going to be tough.  They’re a good hockey team.  They’re going to play a desperate game (Tuesday) and we just need to be at our best.”

PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 16: New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) celebrates his goal with New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) during the third period in Game One of the First Round in the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 16, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

Islanders/Penguins First Round Schedule:

Game 1: Sunday May 16th…Islanders 4 Penguins 3 (OT) (Isles lead 1-0)

Game 2: Tuesday May 18th…Islanders at Penguins…730pm…MSG+

 Game 3: Thursday May 20th…Penguins at Islanders…7pm…MSG+

Game 4: Saturday May 22nd…Penguins at Islanders…3pm…NBC

*Game 5: Monday May 24th…Islanders at Penguins…TBD

*Game 6: Wednesday May 26th…Penguins at Islanders…TBD

*Game 7: Friday May 28th…Islanders at Penguins…TBD

*If Necessary

The Islanders have now played 31 playoff games over the last three seasons including 22 during last year’s postseason in the bubble on their way to the Eastern Conference Final.  What the Islanders have been able to do fairly successfully is get off the ice after a game and find a way to quickly forget about the result and then hit control-alt-delete to get ready for the next contest.

“I think we went through a lot of that in the playoffs last year and we have a lot of returning players,” said Trotz.  “I think we recognize that you take each game as a singular event and you move on good, bad, or indifferent.  If you win or if you lose, you try to get better.  We didn’t do anything.  We won one hockey game.”

That first game of a series has been very important since Trotz took over behind the Islanders’ bench in 2018-19.  In six previous playoff series under Trotz, the Islanders won the first game four times and won all four series but they dropped the other two series openers and wound up losing the series.  But while getting that first victory was important, the Islanders reveled in the victory for a short time and almost immediately switched gears to preparing for what lies ahead in game two.

“It’s always nice to win on the road in the first game of a series,” said Islanders forward Casey Cizikas.  “We enjoyed it (Sunday) but (Monday) is a new day.  We are focused on (Tuesday) and getting ready for (game two).”

PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 16: New York Islanders right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the first period in Game One of the First Round in the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 16, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

“We came on the road with a mission,” said Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri who scored two goals in game one including the game-winner in overtime.  “It’s just one game and (Monday) we’ll get back to work and get ready for game two.  As a team we just have to reset and just get ourselves ready.”

Each game of a playoff series is like an individual chapter of a book.  Some chapters might be more interesting than others but the hope is that you have an enjoyable outcome when the book is finished.  We’re not yet sure how this Islanders/Penguins book will turn out at the end, but regardless of the outcome of each chapter, the Islanders will find a way to turn the page and get ready for the next chapter.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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