It might not be a marquee matchup like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, or the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, but anyone who has ignored what's going on between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning in this Eastern Conference second-round series is missing out.
Fans are getting their money's worth: Through the first three games of this series, the action has been nonstop, high-energy with a dose of hate. The relentlessness has increased with each game, and it's only going to get better. It's likely it will take all seven games to decide the winner and who that winner will be is a toss-up. From the Islanders' standpoint, losing 5-4 in overtime in Game 3 after they played arguably their best game of the season could be demoralizing, but coach Jack Capuano believes his team can build off its dynamic performance and carry it over into Game 4 on Friday at Barclays Center.
Before Game 3, he stressed to his players the importance of getting an abundance of traffic and shots on Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, and that proved to be an effective game plan. Their defensemen were jumping up into the play more and contributing offensively. New York lost its one-goal lead in the closing seconds on a malfunction during a breakout attempt and the Lightning capitalized on the opportunity to tie the game, before winning in OT. Both teams increased the physical aspect of the game.
This physical, fast-paced series has featured plenty of hits like the one Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn made on New York's Nikolay Kulemin during the third period of Game 3. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
"That was Islander hockey," Capuano said. "We played to our identity [in Game 3], and that's the way that we're going to have to play if we're going to have success in this series."
As for the Lightning, they must feel pretty good about themselves because they took the Islanders' best and still came away with a victory.Vipnhlcoins is the best place to Buy NHL 15 Coins and NHL 17 Coins. 100% safe & cheap HUT 17 Coins promise, 7/24 Online Support, We delivery Hockey Ultimate Team Pucks in 1-30 minutes.
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