Maybe a building doesn’t have feelings but I know many that have feelings for it. Memories that will never fade were made inside and outside. Tailgating in the parking lot for playoff games during their 4 consecutive Stanley Cup runs. Standing in the first row in front of Jerry Garcia for one of more than two dozen concerts that I’ve seen there. My dad taking me to see the circus for the very first time, awesome experiences that will not fade away.
Game 6 overtime against the Lightning had a bad memory attached. Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cerrelli eliminated the Isles in the same game last year...That was in The Bubble. This one was in The Barn. Anthony Bouvillier of the Islanders made short order of overtime, scoring just 68 seconds into the extra period. Somehow, in the excitement, Islander fans thought sending beer cans flying onto the ice was OK. It’s not but I understand the situation and I think the Islander players did too.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came ready to play. The New York Islanders let them. It was a blow out from the start as the Bolts Captain Steven Stamkos scored his first goal of the series just :45 seconds into the game. Tampa Bay stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. The Islanders had their chances to make it 3-1 but Andrei Vasileskiy was his amazing self and stifled any of New York’s attempts.
With the waning seconds of the third period expiring in Game 4 of the 3rd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Islanders clinging to a 3-2 lead, New York defenseman Ryan Pulock dove in front of an empty net to save a direct shot on goal by Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh to save the Isalnder victory. McDonagh put on an acrobatic spin move that drew goaltender Semyon Varlomov far enough out of the net to get around him, leaving nothing in between the Lightning defenseman and an empty net to tie the game. In flies Pulock to secure the win and the Islanders head to Tampa Bay tied two games a piece.
It’s been almost four decades since the New York Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty ended after their fourth consecutive NHL Championship 1983. The Isles came close the following year but fell to “the Great One” Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers in 5 games in the Finals. No matter how you add it up, four consecutive championships is certainly a dynasty and has always been something to be proud of as an Islander fan.
Mathew Barzal put the Islanders on the board with just over 7 minutes remaining in the 2nd period. New York’s offense looked sharp and matched the Lightning shot for shot. But it was Varlomov’s acrobatic act, save after save that was the difference in today’s game.
Barry Trotz has the Islanders playing their best hockey in the midst of the playoffs. That’s his plan all year. Both goalies are fighting for minutes. Rookie, Illya Sorokin was between the pipes for the Penguins series victory. Trotz, relying on his keen sense, put Semyon Varlomov in goal for this series. People may have questioned the move when he did it, then again, not many people question Barry. Mollie Walker, who covers the NHL for the New York Post, was on the Drive with Charlie and Dan last week. She talked about the Islanders culture and how the players will run through a wall for Barry Trotz.