This isn’t surprising the Islanders lost in their elimination game yesterday.
What’s surprising is the way the Islanders and John Tavares played. They both laid down.
There was no fight by both of them in the Islanders’ 4-0 loss to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals yesterday afternoon at Amalie Arena. That’s disappointing.
The opinion here was the Islanders were going to go down kicking and screaming before they bowed down to the Lightning. It never happened. The game was over as soon as Victor Hedman scored the first goal of the game in the first period.
From there, the Islanders were just waiting for the regulation to end. They might as well not have bothered showing up to Tampa yesterday afternoon.
John Tavares was horrible yesterday. He couldn’t lead the way with his play yesterday. He was awful since Game 2. He had zero points in the last four games of the playoffs. He did not have any points in the Islanders’ six goals in the last four games of the playoffs.
He was shut down by Hedman in this series. The #1 pick of the 2009 NHL draft was owned by the #2 pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. That’s as bad as it gets for the Islanders captain.
Tavares did not lead the way. He just seemed defeated like his team yesterday. Maybe he was tired. Who knows?
The Islanders needed one great performance from their captain in their elimination game. They wanted him to will them to Game 6 at the Barclays Center. He had to be Mark Messier on this game.
It never happened for him. That was why the Islanders lost.
Now, he shouldn’t be blamed for what went wrong the entire series. The Islanders were not good enough to match up with the Lightning’s offensive depth. Their role players were not great playmakers. He was all alone for the Islanders.
For one game, it would have been nice for Tavares to take matters into his own hands. He should have shot the puck whenever he had it rather than give it to Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. Those two have not earned the right to score.
That’s the problem with Tavares. He’s unselfish to a fault. When his teammates do not have it, he needs to do this by himself.
Yesterday should have been the day he had the puck at all times.
It was unrealistic for him to step up for the rest of the series. He couldn’t do it all in the end, but for one game, it was not too much to ask.
It was disappointing he did not get it done.
As for the Islanders, it was stunning they showed nothing in their elimination game. They have been resilient all year. It was the first time this year they gave in.
Maybe it was because they were tired from a grueling schedule. Maybe it was when they just ran out of gas in the end.
As soon as Hedman scored, the Islanders gave in. The rest of the game was nothing more than a ceremony for the Lightning advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. There might as well be a mercy rule right there.
The Islanders were going to give it their all for one last game. It wasn’t meant to be.
Yesterday should not be something they should be remembered for this postseason. They had a good run by finally advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 1993. They gave the Lightning all they could handle. They weren’t good enough.
Still, it can’t be too much to ask for a team to fight back for an elimination game, right?
The lack of effort by the Islanders was more disappointing than the team being eliminated yesterday.
This shouldn’t have been the way Tavares and the Islanders went down. They should have tried.
Maybe if the captain didn’t give in, the Islanders could have followed his way.
It was a somber way to end what was a good season. A season the Islanders can learn from and get better.
No one will remember yesterday. By now, it’s already forgotten. Why dwell on one bad game?
Still, it would have been nice for the Islanders to give Lightning something to remember for next year.