June 30, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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The rise of the islanders, the lightning during the break creates an unpredictable eastern finale

The rise of the islanders, the lightning during the break creates an unpredictable eastern finale

When the NHL pause, lightning and islanders are heading in the wrong direction. Now they are in a race of four wins, which will determine who will play for the Stanley Cup. Catch tonight at 1pm, starting at 8pm on the sports net.

Edmonton – The last time New York Islanders and Tampa Bay faced each other in lightning, Jean-Gabriel Pageou was still a member of the Ottawa Senators. And Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow have yet to earn two-thirds of Tampa’s match-up line.

The result of this February 8 game is very similar to what we see in the Eastern Conference Final.

Although the NHL has just finished the 2019-20 season since returning from its Kovid-19 break, what we have seen this summer is essentially the new year. Many of the 20 teams sent home failed to meet their previous standards after a four-month hiatus.

The islanders, in particular, were able to increase their bar. Despite going into this playoff tournament without captain Steven Stankos, Tampa are a stronger group than those who returned on March 11.

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Finals, live Stanley Cup playoffs on SportsNet Now, live stream every game without a blackout.

“They’re two teams that have slightly changed their rosters,” Lightning coach Joan Cooper said before Game 1 on Monday. As we did. Maybe there are two teams that have something to prove in different ways.

“I think the two teams that bought in and the two teams that qualified sat where we were. When we saw this going on, both teams had to fight through hardships in so many different ways and found a way.

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“And this is what you are getting now.”

After sending the Boston Bruins in five games, Cooper and his staff have a week to prepare for the conference final. They watched the last game these teams played – a 3-1 Tampa victory at the Amali Arena – but don’t expect it to have much of a clue now.

When the season is over, these two teams are heading in the wrong direction.

The Islanders went 2-7-4 at the time, while Tampa went 3-6-1.

They believe Barry Trotz has taken a turn for the worse for his group. It started with weekly calls and ramped up as soon as they got back on the snow together. They have a plan and a healthy vision.

“There is proper preparation [the players’] Towards my staff and proper preparation, ”said Trotz. “We made sure we were ready to go.. We played some good teams on the way here and if we want to go further we have to go through some great teams.

“That’s our challenge now.”

Lightning has been in this position for six years, and Trotz trained against them in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final on the way to the Washington capitals to the Stanley Cup.

While Tampa’s key players are all the same, he believes that recent acquisitions into the lineup have helped create a new identity. Coleman and Gudro are both commercial deadline pickups and they set up a damaging puck mask line with Yanni Gourde in this playoffs – producing 68 per cent of the 68 hit targets at 5-on-5.

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“They work. They work very hard and they puck the hounds,” said Islanders forward Casey Sigikos. “They did all the playoffs and they made it a success. So we have to match that intensity. ”

The islanders have been building in this direction for some years.

They saw Matthew Barzal blossom into a superstar, but many who have a lunch-pile mentality rely on growing profits from Holdover players. Page and veteran defenseman Andy Greene were added in February. Over time, the islanders have become a little more than the sum of their parts and are fully worth the series wins over Florida, Washington and Philadelphia this summer.

“When you are coaching [against] As a Barry Trotsky you have to be ready to be in the fight for the full 60 minutes, ”Cooper said.

“Game 1 is always an interesting game for me, because you can do more video, you can do a lot of homework and everything on the team, but watch the game from 10 feet out of the snow rather than on a video camera until you get a feel for how the lines play and how they fit in with everything. .

“And especially now in this situation … the staff are different and I think the mentality of the two teams is different.”

Four wins from the first one will play for the Stanley Cup.