Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr (62) and left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrate with defenseman Jason Garrison (5) after Garrison scored the winning goal against the New York Islanders during the overtime period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals, Friday, May 6, 2016, in New York.
The New York Islanders failed to hold their ground on home ice this week as they dropped both games at the Barclay’s Center and now are one loss away from their season coming to a crashing halt as they trail 3-1 against a Lightning team that has surprised by many by their playoff dominance.
For the Lightning, the road to the cup continues; they’re now set to return to the Eastern Conference finals for the second consecutive season.
The Islanders did not play like a desperate team and the Lightning took advantage on Hedman’s first goal at 13:49 of the first period.
However, the Islanders lost Game Two 3-1, and then just previously lost Game Three 5-4 in overtime.
Nikita Kucherov and Brian Boyle also scored for the Lightning, who will face either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals in the East final.
That’s the traditional mindset for teams in the New York Islanders’ situation, down 3-1 with Game 5 in the enemy’s territory.
“Two words”, said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. We didn’t play ideal playoff games every time, but we’re getting contributions from everybody in the lineup. You get up [Sunday], and it’s a bit of an odd schedule.
This is the time for the Islanders, who have had the better of the play for a majority of the series’ 244:22, to step up. No question. You have to be a special group to weather this in terms of what we have. That’s either disheartening or encouraging that the Islanders are a few bounces away from being two games up instead. “The one thing we have learned is you get the other team’s A-game on those opportunities to close a team out”.
Okposo, given his production, especially the last three years, appears to be in line for a hefty raise from his $ 2.8 million AAV he earned on his latest contract.
“It’s really exciting just to know there’s a potential for (Stamkos and Stralman) to come back”, Killorn said. “You want to be at your best when you come to the playoffs”.
In just 10 games, Tampa has advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.
A significant part of that shutdown was keyed by a dominant two-way performance throughout the series by Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 National Hockey League draft behind Tavares. Tavares had five goals and four assists in the Islanders’ first-round win over Florida.