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Islanders going to Carolina to win Games 3, 4 'plain and simple': Trotz

Coach says New York can't afford passengers trailing playoff series against Hurricanes

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

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Barry Trotz relayed a message to his New York Islanders after they lost the first two games at home against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"I said to them, 'Hey, we're going to Carolina to win two games, plain and simple,'" the coach said at the Islanders practice facility Monday. "You can't win two unless you focus on the first, so we'll focus on the first and go from there."

"The first" is Game 3 of this best-of-7 series at PNC Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS), where an electric atmosphere is expected with the Hurricanes holding a 2-0 lead after rallying for a 2-1 win at Barclays Center on Sunday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]

 

Trotz doesn't expect his players to be fazed by the crowd, not after the way they performed on the road in Games 3 and 4 at PPG Paints Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom they swept in the first round. But he knows they'll need to find another gear if they hope to get back in the series.

"They're going to come out with a lot of energy," Trotz said. "We've just got to respond. It was no different than the first series. You've just got to respond and you've got to dig in.

"We have another level. There's some players on our team that have another level, another level of focus, another level of commitment, all those things that's necessary to win. You can't have any passengers. We're going to have to go in there fully committed. If we do that, we give ourselves a chance to have success."

Video: Canes beat Isles in Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead

Trotz isn't about to panic, not when he found himself in this position last season in the first round with the Washington Capitals, who lost their first two games at home before winning the next four against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

But he's coaching a different team now and facing a different opponent. So why can the Islanders still win this series?

"Look at both games," Trotz said. "We've had lots of chances. It hasn't been a series where they've outchanced us, outplayed us. I think we've played a good portion of carrying the play, if you will, in good portions of the first two games. It could very well be us on the positive end, but we're not, and that's the reality.

"You go into the next game and worry about the small picture first, you fight your way back into the series. Even though we've lost two games, we've got some confidence. That's undeniable. [In Game 2], we had a lot of confidence in that game. It slipped away from us in under a minute. We had chances. We haven't buried our chances."

The Islanders may have to move forward without forward Cal Clutterbuck, who sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 2. If he is unable to play, he'd likely be replaced by 22-year-old forward Michael Dal Colle, who would be making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. The Islanders already are without defenseman Johnny Boychuk because of a lower-body injury sustained in Game 4 against the Penguins. He is unlikely to play in this series.

Trotz did not provide an update on Clutterbuck's status Monday.

"This time of year, people have to step up," Trotz said. "We've got some people that are important and out, and so [do] they. It's the next-man-up mentality. Every team has that … if you're going to have success in the playoffs, it's next guy up. It's not 'Woe is me,' it's the next guy up. Get your job done, that's plain and simple. If you can't do the job, we'll get someone else to do the job."

This truly is a different challenge for the Islanders, whose only real test in the first round against the Penguins was defenseman Justin Schultz's tying goal with 1:29 remaining in the third period of Game 1, which New York won 4-3 in overtime. The Islanders outscored the Penguins 10-3 in the final three games, including 7-2 in Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh.

But here they are down 2-0 in the second round, during which the Hurricanes have led for a total of 18:55, and New York's only goal has been a redirection of an attempted pass by Mathew Barzal that went off the stick of Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin in the first period of Game 2.

"We're going through some adversity," Trotz said. "I don't think we went through any in that first series, and we don't want to look back. There's always tests. There's an unseen hand or something will come up that will test you a little bit. It's how you respond."

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