NY Islanders (Tied 2-2) @ Florida Panthers
Trocheck may return tonight. However if he does he is likely to play on the third line. Harvey Fialkov and George Richards both who are Panthers beat writers for the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald respectively doubt he will play. However I like to focus on the optimistic side and think he will play. For the Islanders Ryan Pulock is out. Marek Zidlicky is expected to take his place. Also, Steve Bernier, the former Panther is expected to make his 2016 postseason debut. This game is very key for both teams. The Panthers need a home ice win to bring momentum back to New York and hopefully win the series. The Islanders need to win this game so they can knock the confidence out of us and carry momentum back to home ice. This is going to be a tough game. Unfortunately, yours truly me will probably not be able to see the first period due to Passover. I am partially Jewish and Catholic. Thankfully people invented the DVR and the NHL app came out with a hide scores thing and we have a radio in the car so I can listen to the game on the way home. It would be very key for the Cats if Trocheck comes back. Especially if he picks up where he was right before the injury. Please Trocheck don’t block any more shots. D-Mac you too. Luongo can save it. Here are the keys to the game:
1 Score an Early Goal
One way to get your crowd into it right off the bat. Score an early goal. The place will be going nuts right off the bat and it will go even more nuts if we score an early goal.
2 Don’t let the Islanders score in the first 10 minutes
One way to suck the momentum out of your crowd. Allow an early goal. So for the first ten minutes shut down the Islanders. Also if you can’t shut them down, Lou please make some big saves. The crowd would go as nuts as a goal for us if Lou makes a big save early on.
3 Shut down Tavares
In the four games of the series, Islanders captain and star player John Tavares has gotten points in each game. It’s time for that to stop we need to shut him down.
4 No more 5 on 3s
On 5 on 3s the Islanders are 1 for 2 (Well actually 2 for 2 since Barkov didn’t get to the play in time and the Isles scored like two seconds he got out of the box). The PK needs to stay strong so we don’t take penalties on the PK because it’s the only way to stop the Islanders momentum. So this is two keys in one. The PK needs to do it’s job and not take penalties. I know the referees are out to get us but don’t give them any reason to call a penalty.
This is a key for the fans. There are 500 tickets left. I want you to go buy those 500 now! We need a sellout tonight. Listen, I can’t go because of Passover so please go to represent the Panthers and me. If we don’t sellout the TV stations are just going to keep mocking us and all of those idiots who don’t want hockey down here will have no reason to say Move to Quebec. As I have said on Twitter, if the Panthers lose don’t just jump up and say move to Quebec or if no sellout than don’t say Move to Quebec if your like 500 fans short. Now get a sellout so the haters have no reason to complain about the game.
My Thoughts on this game
This game is crucial for many reasons. It means you are 1 game away from winning the series and you have an advantage. If you win it’s like the other team is now pushed to the edge of a cliff. If we win we go up to New York with momentum and we can have the Islanders home crowd not so revved up. Then we can take advantage of that and win it in 6. This is going to be the hardest fought game of the series so far. The Islanders have it better if they win. If the Islanders win then they are heading back to their home crowd with momentum and their home crowd will be so revved up it will make Game 3 look like a library atmosphere. 3 out of 4 games have been 1 goal games so far. It would be 4\4 if Kulikov hadn’t gotten the empty netter in Game 2. Kulikov and Petrovic are the only defenders with goals in this series. Other Defenders need to score especially, Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad is our go to defender in goals scored and he hasn’t gotten one this series but he would have if they hadn’t said Huberdeau was off sides in Game 3. Ekblad had 15 goals this season tied for 2nd most by a Defender in one season in Panthers History. Here is how Ekblad scores normally. The puck is behind the net. Ekblad creeps up a little from the right point. Someone finds Ekblad who fires a shot from there and it goes in either straight from Ekblad’s stick or a deflection. I would still count a deflection as an Ekblad goal. Campbell who had a great +\- this year needs to improve his playoff +\-. I have developed a nervous habit of untying my shoes all day during the playoffs and tying them again so please don’t make me do it more frequent on Sunday then I probably will.
Frans Nielsen- John Tavares- Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin- Brock Nelson- Josh Bailey
Shane Prince- Alan Quine- Steve Bernier
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy- Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan- Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey- Marek Zidlicky
Injured: Anders Lee (broken fibula); Ryan Pulock (upper body); Mikhail Grabovski (upper body); Brian Strait (upper body); Jaroslav Halak (lower body)
Scratched: Ryan Strome; Adam Pelech; Eric Boulton; Christopher Gibson
Jonathan Huberdeau- Aleksander Barkov- Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen- Nick Bjugstad- Reilly Smith
Jiri Hudler- Vincent Trocheck- Teddy Purcell
Garrett Wilson- Derek MacKenzie- Logan Shaw
Dimitry Kulikov- Aaron Ekblad
Brian Campbell- Erik Gudbranson
Michael Matheson- Alex Petrovic
Injured: Dave Bolland (lower body); Willie Mitchell (concussion); Steven Kampfer (lower body)
Scratches: Shawn Thornton, Greg McKegg, Quinton Howden, Jakub Kindl