— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) May 4, 2016
The New York Islanders’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night can only be described as one thing: deflating.
The New York Islanders‘ rallying cry in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was “BeLIeve.”
Even the team’s most ardent supporters might be having an arduous time reigniting the spirit of that phrase following a deflating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
For the first time all postseason, the Isles jumped out to a one-nil lead to start a game. They led multiple times, and were roughly thirty seconds away from closing the contest out with a victory.
“It’s a tough one to swallow considering the circumstances,” John Tavares said, via Cory Wright of NHL.com. “It is what it is. We obviously have to overcome it, some adversity. Nothing is ever perfect in the playoffs.”
The loss, of course, is disappointing. The Isles had multiple opportunities to take their second series lead, but failed to do so.
But forget the fact that the Isles blew multiple leads. This was a game in which they thoroughly outplayed their opponent, but ended up with the loss.
As many players, coaches and analysts noted, this was one of the team’s best performances of the entire season. With the exception of a couple of late-period goals, the Isles took advantage of their opportunities and were strong on the forecheck and along-the-boards.
“I think it was our best game so far,” said Frans Nielsen. “We have to come out and try to be even better next game, but it’s frustrating right now.”
“I thought our guys played one of the best games we played all year,” Jack Capuano said. “We really played a hard game, our guys should be proud of the effort. It’s just tough the way that it ended.”
The Isles will try to feed off their home-ice advantage in game four on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
“We had a chance to close it out and we didn’t,” Josh Bailey, who netted a pair of goals in the loss, said. “Now it’s about how you respond.”