Skip to main content

Islanders want to play fast, physical in Game 3

New York looking to restore identity when series moves to Barclays Center

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- After winning three consecutive games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Islanders got away from the things that have made them successful in the 4-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano is expecting his players to get back to their identity in Game 3 at Barclays Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) -- playing fast and playing physical.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

"I just think it's a function of us not moving our feet," Capuano said Monday. "They're a good team. They rely on their speed, their skill and quickness and deception. If you're going to stand around and watch, it's going to be a long period for you.

"I think for us, we know that we were real soft and we stopped taking the body. We let them create a little bit too much time and space, and that's what happens when you do that."

The Islanders will rely heavily on their players who relish the physical game, especially defenseman Travis Hamonic and forwards Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. Hamonic said he knows he and his teammates need to step up in Game 3.

"I think the message was served," Hamonic said. "I think it's a style of play that we've had all year, and quite frankly since I've been here in my six years. That's part of our identity. It's something that we try to do as a group. I think it's probably one of those things where you can never have enough. You can always try to do more and be more physical. I think as a group collectively that's something we're going to try to bring to our game."

As for the Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck line, the three could see more playing time Tuesday with the intent of wearing down the Lightning's forwards. Martin is expecting another energetic crowd at Barclays Center when the series shifts to New York for Games 3 and 4.

"I think we always want to lead the way in that department," said Martin, who had five hits in 8:16 of ice time in Game 2. "It's what we're paid to do. In front of our home crowd, it's always easier, but they feed off of that and when the crowd gets going, it obviously gets us going a little more. The home ice is going to be a big advantage for us [Tuesday] in that department and we've got to feed off the energy."

The Islanders were limited to 20 shots on goal in Game 2; they're averaging 33.6 shots per game in the playoffs. After chasing Lightning goalie Ben Bishop in Game 1, New York didn't generate nearly enough in the offensive zone Saturday despite having five power plays, and had to settle for a split at Amalie Arena.

"We want to obviously play a lot better than we did on Saturday," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We know it wasn't our best. We have to make it a lot tougher on them."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.