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playoffs

5 Reasons: Why Islanders were eliminated

Lightning kept Tavares off score sheet final four games; New York struggled on power play

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

TAMPA -- The New York Islanders ended their Stanley Cup Playoff hex by winning a round for the first time since 1993, but their season ended Sunday when they lost 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Amalie Arena.

"That's tough part about losing -- not going to the rink tomorrow as a group, getting ready to go out on the ice and practice," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Every team goes through it. There's only so many teams that make the playoffs, there's only going to be one winner. But I'm proud of the effort that we put forth."

Here are 5 reasons the Islanders were eliminated:

1. TAVARES DIDN'T SCORE

Islanders captain John Tavares carried the load offensively in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Florida Panthers, but he was held without a point over the final four games against the Lightning. Tavares did hit the goal post in each of the last two games, but beyond that he had an extremely difficult time generating quality chances.

"Johnny competes, whether it's the Olympics, or whether it's going to be the World Cup, Johnny's going to be matched against top players," Capuano said. "I thought (Victor) Hedman and (Braydon) Coburn and their D did a really good job … (Jason) Garrison, (Andrej) Sustr … all their D. I thought they were physical, I thought their forwards were physical on the forecheck."

Video: NYI@TBL, Gm5: Hedman scores a pair in Game 5

2. NO ANSWER FOR HEDMAN

Hedman was dominant in this series, whether it was frustrating Tavares or jumping into the play and contributing offensively. He had eight points and scored in three of the final four games against the Islanders.

"He's a dynamic player. He's one of the best players in the League," Islanders left wing Matt Martin said. "He's extremely mobile for a big man. He's very hard to play against."

3. POWER PLAY FIZZLED

The Islanders struggled with the man-advantage against the Lightning, scoring four goals on 18 opportunities, which included a four-minute power play in Game 4 that saw them come up empty. New York was given a man-advantage 10 seconds into Game 5 but failed to generate chances.

"We couldn't find a way here these last few games to score some goals," Capuano said. "At the end of the day, you've got to get more than one, and we didn't get any [in Game 5]."

4. NELSON STRUGGLED

The Islanders knew they couldn't simply rely on Tavares to carry the offense, but they didn't nearly get enough from forward Brock Nelson. After scoring 26 goals during the regular season, Nelson went the last four games of the series without a point after getting two assists in Game 1.

"We can say that about a few guys," Capuano said. "I know this: Whether guys struggled at this time of the year or not, the one thing I can tell you is they gave it what they had. That's all you can ask from your guys. I'm proud of the effort that they put forth. They battled for one another whether they struggled or not. You just want them to work as hard as they can, and I think or guys did that from top to bottom."

5. DIDN'T CLOSE AT HOME

The Islanders outplayed the Lightning at Barclays Center in Games 3 and 4 but failed to win either; Tampa Bay trailed by a goal in the third period each time before tying it and quickly winning in overtime to put New York in a 3-1 series hole heading into Sunday.

"We obviously played some good hockey at times, but we just let those two games at home really slip away and that put us behind the eight ball for [Game 5]," Tavares said.

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