Islanders lead series 1-0
I - NYI 5; TBL 3
II - SATURDAY
New York Islanders: Let the bodies hit the ice; repeat three more times...
When speaking of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I'll side with the team coming off a three day layoff over the team coming off a six day layoff every time. That does not always ring true 100% of the time, but the odds are heavily in my favor.
Therefore, Game One's result came as no surprise to me.
Despite Tampa Bay jumping out to an early lead, I fully expected the Lightning to suck in Wednesday's series opener against the Islanders. Sure enough, the Bolts, specifically Ben Bishop, did exactly that.
Tampa Bay, however, will not go down quietly. In fact, the Lightning effectively removed six days worth of rust by the 3rd period.
The real series starts now.
That said, there is still much to extract from Game One.
Don't let the official game stats fool you. The box score says Tampa actually out-hit the Isles by a 33-29 margin. In truth, however, they were only bumping into people instead of actually throwing their weight around. Despite the absence of Steven Stamkos, Tampa still wants to play in open ice. They do not want the series devolving into an overly physical contest in the corners - which plays right into the Islanders hands.
Listen up Rangers fans!
When the Islanders come ready to hit, they punish. They turn jerseys into sideboard art. And on Wednesday, they hit everything in sight. So the longer this series goes, crashing bodies like the Isles did in Game One will eventually take its toll on Tampa.
When the Rangers played Tampa in last year's Conference Finals,
Alain Vigneault called off the dogs in Game Seven and got eliminated. Now look at them.!
Jack Capuano took a puck to the face and stayed behind the bench ... just saying.
When a healthy Steve Bernier and Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas play the way they did in Game One, then throw in five hits from new kid on the ice Alan Quine, the Islanders become a scary team to deal with.
The Lightning will find no respite. Flatbush simply has more PSI than Tampa can handle - (pounds per square Islander).
Behind the Mask
If you haven't caught on by now, or are not familiar with this Trolley, I am a Rangers fan (damn Smurfs!), which gave me an up close view of Ben Bishop during last year's conference finals.
He's a big dude. His mere presence occupies an inordinately huge amount of net space. He must be made to move laterally, because, to put it very simply, he sucks at it. Bishop is a good quality goalie if allowed to remain stationary. But make him start moving to his left or right, and he's doomed.
Thomas Greiss gets to use his get out of jail free card for allowing two goals in the 3rd period of Game One.
Just regroup, you're doing fine!