Let’s simply say that Ryan Pulock’s win-saving play because the clock expired within the Islanders’ 3-2 victory over the Lightning in Sport 4 Saturday evening was extremely on-brand for the staff.
As a result of in a pivotal, must-win contest to even the Stanley Cup semifinal collection earlier than heading again to Tampa Bay, the Islanders had been capable of pull out a win behind a disciplined play that took immense focus and sheer willpower.
Because the scoreboard ticked right down to its ultimate 4 seconds, Ryan McDonagh evaded a lunge from Brock Nelson with a spin-o-rama transfer that despatched the puck at a wide-open web whereas Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov desperately ventured out of his crease to problem the Lightning defenseman.
However in swooped Pulock, who dropped to his knees and acquired his proper glove on the puck earlier than it might cross the objective line.
It was a quintessential Islanders play. There was no give up, little question, only a gutsy play that preserved an important victory.
“That’s the sort of desperation all our D play with,” Matt Martin stated of Pulock’s heroics in Sport 4. “I believe all our gamers play with [desperation] on the whole. Simply an enormous play. We’re not sitting right here proper now if he doesn’t do this. Clearly, a game-saving scenario.”
Had McDonagh’s backhanded shot gone in and despatched the sport to additional time, the whole trajectory of the collection might’ve modified. The Islanders might’ve been touring again to Tampa with their season on the road if the Lightning completed the job in OT after their third-period comeback.
However the Islanders aren’t a staff that appears forward, or appears to be like again. The Islanders are a staff that stays within the second, and that’s why Pulock was proper the place he wanted to be in that second.
“That’s how our staff has success,” stated Josh Bailey, who scored the primary of the Islanders’ three objectives within the second interval Saturday. “Completely different nights, completely different guys are stepping up and also you want that within the postseason should you’re going to make a run.”
Head coach Barry Trotz needed to see extra “grunt” objectives from his staff, and so they delivered. Dealing with a Lightning squad that’s as equally defensively savvy as they’re, the Islanders have acknowledged that fairly objectives are going to be few and much between.
So the Islanders had been aggressive round Tampa Bay’s web and centered on creating visitors in entrance of it. In line with Pure Stat Trick, the Islanders created six rebounds in Sport 4 – three of which got here from Cal Clutterbuck. They had been relentless across the crease, which simply often is the solely solution to even remotely rattle Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who’s a Vezina Trophy finalist and anticipated winner of the highest goalie award.
“You actually must will your self in there,” Trotz stated. “If you wish to be a light-weight and play on the perimeter, you’re going to don’t have any success in opposition to these guys. I believed there was a greater dedication from us to at the very least make it more durable on them on the within. I believed we did and we acquired rewarded for it.”