As all of Islanders Country continues to recover from the Isles’ 8-0 loss to the Lightning in game five of the Stanley Cup Semifinals, it’s important to point something out…
The series isn’t over yet.
To that point, what if a hypothetical question was posed back in January?
“It’s three games to two,” said Trotz during a Zoom meeting with reporters on Tuesday. “If I would have said before the season started that we’d be down three games to two in the (final four) anybody in for that? Everybody would put up their hand.”
And with game six set for Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night (8pm NBCSN), the Islanders are just a home-ice win away from having the chance to play a winner take all contest for the right to compete for Lord Stanley.
“We take care of (Wednesday) night’s game…to have one shot to go to the Stanley Cup Final. That’s really the message. You only get so many cracks at this. “The stuff that we did (Monday) night was very correctable. It was turnovers and hopefully it’s only a 24-hour thing and just like a 24-hour flu we can get over it and move on.”
And the Islanders will move on with Mat Barzal in the lineup as he was fined $5,000 for cross-checking Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta in game five but he was not suspended.
As far as where the Islanders now, twere in the same situation last post-season in the Edmonton bubble when they trailed the Lightning three games to two heading into game six, a contest that the Islanders lost in overtime ending their season. This time around, the Islanders will be in the friendly confines of “The Barn” with a capacity crowd of 12,978 fans on to lend them plenty of support.
The question is…can the Islanders rebound from what happened in game five?
“That’s the beauty of the playoffs,” said Islanders forward Casey Cizikas. “It’s a seven-game series. It’s not just one game. You’re going to see a different team (Wednesday) night. We’re excited to get back out there and prove that we are a better team.”
Islanders vs Lightning (Tampa Bay leads 3-2)
Game 1…Sunday June 13th…Islanders 2 Lightning 1…
Game 2…Tuesday June 15th…Lightning 4 Islanders 2…
Game 3…Thursday June 17th…Lightning 2 Islanders 1…
Game 4…Saturday June 19th…Islanders 3 Lightning 2…
Game 5…Monday June 21st…Lightning 8 Islanders 0…
Game 6…Wednesday June 23rd…Lightning at Islanders…8pm NBCSN
*Game 7…Friday June 25th…Islanders at Lightning…8pm NBCSN
The situation in the series sets the stage for what will be an electric atmosphere at the Coliseum and it could also be an emotional night. If the Islanders lose, it will mark the end of the season and the conclusion to the final post-season run in the Islanders history at “The Barn”. A victory would extend the series to a seventh game Friday night in Tampa and give the Islanders an opportunity to bring the Stanley Cup Final back to Long Island for the first time since 1984.
After the beating they took in game five, the Islanders are going to need to bring their “A” game and they’ll also need the crowd to, once again, be the seventh man.
““It’s nice to be coming home in front of fans that have been unbelievable,” said Islanders forward Jordan Eberle. “You get a little bit of an extra boost when they’re cheering on and our record shows for itself how well we play there. I think you’re going to see a very different team.”
And that brings us to another hypothetical conversation.
What if Trotz and the boys held a relaxing meeting they returned home from Tampa and discussed what happened in game five?
“The biggest disappointment from the group…if we were just sitting in the backyard…all the guys…having a cold one, we would say that wasn’t us (Monday night). We know we’re better than that. That’s what you would hear. They would say we gotta get back to our game.”
According to Trotz, the Islanders game has a number of important components like “good structure”, “really good work ethic”, “go to the net hard”, “force turnovers”, “play good defense”, “stay disciplined”, “play 200 feet” and “have a lot of battle in our game.”
“If we do that,” said Trotz. “Then we usually have pretty good results. It’s been a really good formula for us.”
The Islanders formula of winning games four, five and six in the first two rounds will not continue in this round. But the Islanders can still keep their game six magic at Nassau Coliseum going and if that happens, the puck will drop for a game seven in Tampa on Friday.
That brings us to yet another hypothetic question that could have been posed before the season…
Would you sign on the dotted line for one game to go to the Stanley Cup Final?
I’m pretty sure everyone in Islanders Country would answer that question “YES YES YES”, but the Islanders have to take care of business to make that scenario a reality.