We’ve learned a lot about the New York Islanders this postseason.
We’ve come to know how good a team they are, how well-rounded their roster is, and just how much their defensive structure and intense forecheck can drive teams mad.
But, the biggest thing which might resonate from their playoff run once it does come to an end was how resilient a bunch they were when things didn’t go their way.
Because that’s exactly what the Isles have been — resilient. It’s been their trademark ever since they entered bubble play 38 days ago.
Heading into tonight’s pivotal game two tonight, the Islanders have the chance to show their resolve and pushback once again. And it’s imperative they have it after what happened on Monday night.
Two nights ago, in game one against the Lightning, the Isles were embarrassed 8-2. They didn’t come ready to play, nothing went right for them — beyond Jordan Eberle getting his first goal in a long time — and it was their worst game of the entire playoffs. It was also a wake-up call of sorts too.
“We were caught in between a little bit, we were just not as sharp,” head coach Barry Trotz said of told the media yesterday. “To me, that’s a sign of mental focus, mental fatigue. This team is much better. I know they’ll respond.”
Responding to adversity hasn’t been hard to come by for the Isles to as the playoffs have worn on. They are, after all, 3-1 this postseason after losing a game. In each of those games too, the Islanders have also come out with their most complete efforts. This Lightning squad provides a bit of a different challenge, though.
As the class of the East, and in their third Conference Final appearance in the last five seasons, the Bolts are fully aware of what to expect when the puck drops tonight.
“We know the Islanders are going to be better,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday.
Therein lies why it’s even more crucial for the Isles to bring that certain mindset this evening.
Tampa will be ready. But then again, so will the Islanders. That aside, coming away victorious could prove huge as the series moves forward.
“We get [Wednesday’s] game and it’s a completely different series,” said Mathew Barzal yesterday.
Barzal isn’t wrong.
The Islanders can change this series on a dime and gain the momentum with a huge effort tonight. How they do that is by showing the kind of team they’ve been nearly the entire playoffs.
That means being resilient and finding a way to win.