Barzal and Islanders eager to bounce back against Lightning in Game 2 of Eastern Finals


The New York Islanders follow a series for the first time in the playoffs and know better effort is vital against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).

New York, sixth seed in the East, lost the opener 8-2 on Monday. The Islanders have never lagged behind in their previous three series against the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.”Personally, I liked our attitude after the game last night”, New York center Mathew Barzal said Tuesday. “We knew it wasn’t acceptable, but at the same time we knew it was a seven game series and it’s the first to four [wins]. We have the game tomorrow, and it’s a whole different series. ”

Tampa Bay Defender Kevin Shattenkirk said the Lightning expected a much tougher game on Wednesday in Edmonton, a central city for the conference finals and the Stanley Cup final.

“I think we felt like we were doing our job and that we did what we planned to do yesterday in the game,” said Shattenkirk. “We knew we could try to use this to our advantage by being rested for a week. But now I think, obviously, that they have a day to reset, probably clear their heads, and some of these games are getting easier to play. clear your shoulders when you lose by a big margin like this.

“We will definitely be ready for a much better team. We know the kind of style they play and obviously the kind of energy they can bring. We are happy with the game and the victory, but we are certainly I do not feel like we have achieved anything yet. ”

It was the second time the Islanders have allowed eight goals in a game since Barry Trotz took over as a coach last season; New York lost 8-3 to the Nashville Predators on December 17, 2019. Entering Game 1, the Islanders allowed more than four goals in a game once in the playoffs, a 5-4 loss in double overtime. against the Flyers in Game 6 of Round 2 at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena this past Thursday.

Before Monday, New York last allowed eight goals in a playoff game in an 8-3 loss to the Flyers in Game 2 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final, which the Islanders won in six games.

“This team is a lot better, and I know they will respond,” Trotz said. “It was really difficult. I’ll be honest, after the game, to give it a try, we kind of do our evaluations on our squad and our individual players, and that was difficult because it was such a strange game for everyone. ”

Video: Weekes breaks down Islanders’ performance

Tampa Bay, the No.2 seed, looked fresh in their first game since Aug.31 and received five points each from the forwards Brayden Point (two goals, three assists) and Nikita Kucherov (one goal, four assists). The Lightning was 3-for-6 on the power play.

The eight goals tied the most the Lightning scored in a playoff game. They beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-2 in Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Teams with a 2-0 lead are 329-51 (86.6%) and win a best-of-7 Stanley Cup playoff series, including 5-0 in the first two rounds of that playoff series.

“I’d say what was it, our ninth playoff win, [that was] probably the quietest of our victories, “Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday.” It’s a pretty exciting time to win a playoff game, let alone the current situation. I think it’s both the fact that we know the Islanders are going to be better and a combination of I know we can be better, and they know we can be better.

“So you don’t win a series in the first game, but if you get it, it will definitely help you move forward. We know that, but we’re only a quarter of the way there, and I think all the guys in the room know that too. ”

The Islanders lost Games 5 and 6 in overtime to the Flyers who were trying to end the series. New York qualified for the conference final for the first time since 1993 with a 4-0 win in Game 7 on Saturday.

As is customary, the Islanders did not announce their starting goalie in advance for Game 2. Thomas Greiss was called out at 10:46 of the first period of the first game after allowing three goals on nine shots. Semyon Varlamov allowed five goals on 20 shots.

Video: Point and Kucherov help Lightning break Game 1 record

Greiss made 16 shutout saves against the Flyers in Game 7 and has a 2.02 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in four games (three starts) in the playoffs. Varlamov started 14 of New York’s 17 playoff games and is 9-4 with a 2.22 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts.

Trotz said it was possible to move forward Cal Clutterbuck could play on Wednesday. He left Game 1 at 11:36 a.m. of the second period after blocking a shot and briefly returned to the bench early in the third period before returning to the locker room.

Tom Gulitti, Editor, contributed to this report


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