Game 3 loss was disappointing for the Islanders.
They had this game won with 38.4 seconds to go until Nikita Kucherov fired a shot that landed in the net that Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss had no chance of catching. That went to overtime, and the Islanders took a 4-3 loss when Brian Boyle shot the puck through the net on a rebound from Victor Hedman’s shot.
Yes, the Islanders were furious after the game, but don’t think for a second they are despondent. They feel they are good enough to bounce back from Tuesday and win tonight, which is when Game 4 resumes.
This Islanders team has been resilient all season. They have bounced back from horrible losses in the regular season. They have responded after losses by winning the next playoff game. They even rallied three times to tie the game in their 5-4 Game 1 victory against the Panthers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
What happened in Game 3 is nothing for the Islanders. They know this is the ups and downs of playoff hockey. Islanders winger Josh Bailey admitted that much when he mentioned this is part of playoff hockey after Game 3.
The players are trained to have a short memory. They know it’s about winning the war, not winning the battle. One bad game does not mean a bad series. They can’t overreact like fans do after a loss. They have perspective.
So it shouldn’t be surprising the Islanders are shaking Game 3 off. They know it’s about tonight.
The Islanders will be ready. They had two days to stew. They had a chance to do soul-searching during their days off. Now, it’s time to see what they are made off.
The feeling here is the Islanders will play well and win. It’s what they have done all year after bad losses.
They can play with the Lightning. They proved it this season by winning the season series 2-1. They have done good in this series. They should be up 2-1 right now in this series. It didn’t happen.
Now, it’s time for the Islanders to do something about it tonight.
They need this game. They can’t go to Tampa down 3-1. They can’t lose two of their first two home games in the playoffs and win the series. It’s going to be hard to win three in a row against a great Lightning team.
The Islanders know that. Bet on them to play with a sense of urgency.
It would be nice if the Islanders can play defense. They haven’t done much of it in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Yes, Greiss deserves his share of blame for losing Game 3 such as giving up the softie goal in overtime, but his defense needs to clear the puck and not let the Lightning have second chance scoring.
The Lightning can’t be wide open when they are shooting, either.
Also if the Islanders have scoring chances, they need to finish it.
They can’t get into a shootout match with the Lightning as they did in Game 3. They are going to lose 95% of the time. The Lightning feast on that.
The Islanders don’t have the personnel like the Bolts to match them four or five goals. They have one good line at best.
The Islanders need to outwork the Lightning defensively to win tonight and rest of the series. They have to play their best game of the series tonight.
The Islanders feel they can be better than they showed. It would be nice if they played like it tonight.
This is not to say the Islanders have not played with a sense of urgency. They have. They haven’t played good enough to win games against the Lightning. They have been awful since the third period of Game 1.
The Islanders have to show what they got tonight. They will be ready.
They are not going to be treating Game 4 as if this is Game 7, but they also know there is no room for error.
The Islanders seem to like it when they are behind. It’s when they play their best hockey.
The Islanders have to get it done tonight. They know what’s at stake.
They are ready to go.