Head coach Barry Despite said he would ponder the Islanders’ loss to the Lightning in the 2019-20 conference finals on his deathbed. Well, now he and his team have a chance to correct that.
With a 6-2 win in the series against the Bruins on Wednesday night, the Islanders reached the Stanley Cup semi-finals and earned another rift in the Lightning. The rematch is set to begin this weekend in Tampa, Florida.
During last season’s bubble playoffs, the Lightning sent the Islanders into the series after beating the 4-2 before winning the Stanley Cup. The Islanders were gassed after the Flyers forced Game 7 in the second round series, which resulted in the Lightning taking two easy wins to start the conference finals in Edmonton.
The Islanders won Game 3 5-3 and took a 2-1 double overtime win in Game 5 to keep them alive, but the Lightning eventually advanced. In six games, the Lightning outperformed the Islanders with 20-12.
« We talked zero about Tampa Bay, zero, » said Despite giggling after the win. “We started this journey to beat Pittsburgh, and we could do that. Then we focused on Boston. We have a chance to face the champions again. They are amazing. I just watched them shut down Carolina. This is a good hockey team right now and a very dangerous power game, they get about 50 percent I think it seems.
« You have superstar power, just like Boston. They have a couple of lines to hurt you and a tight goalkeeper, their defense is extremely deep and their strikers are extremely deep. So this is going to be a big challenge for us, but we’ll try to analyze it and see what we can do. ”
After a high-level battle with the Panthers in the first round this postseason, the Lightning crossed through Hurricanes and won the series 4-1. But this time the Islanders will start the series much more rested.
The Lightning finished third in the Central Division this season, behind the Hurricanes and Panthers. But the organization took advantage of the long-term injury cap and now has a 20-person line-up, almost $ 8 million above the cap.
Add to this Nikita Kucherov, who missed the entire regular season because of a hip replacement Has. He now has five goals and 13 assists in eleven games after the season.
« You have to beat the best if you want to win it all, » said Brock Nelson, who won two of the Islanders’ three goals in the second half scored. “I don’t think anyone here was thinking about revenge on Tampa. Just take each series individually. Now we can turn the page and focus on them. ”
Under Defiance and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders have now won five playoff series, not counting the play-in round against the Panthers last season .
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Islanders get another chance at Lightning