The Wraparound: Islanders up against the wall at home

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

The Islanders fell down 2-1 in the Second Round to the Bruins, with one difference; that was in Boston.

After going ahead 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Semi Finals in Tampa Bay, the Islanders now face trailing 3-1 on home ice; unless they can take Game 4 and tie the series 2-2.

It’s not exactly unfamiliar territory quite yet. When they trailed against the Bruins, they tied the series with an overtime win on the road. They went on to win three games in a row, just like they did to end their First Round series with the Penguins.

This isn’t the Penguins or the Bruins, though, and the same way the Islanders have found a way to the Semi Finals might not work this time around.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The Lightning have only trailed once all playoffs, and that was after the Islanders took Game 1 in Tampa Bay. If The Islanders were to fall on Saturday night and trail the series 3-1, they face a Lightning squad that lost three games in a row just twice this season, including their final three games that didn’t carry any weight.

So while the Islanders have shown the ability to rattle off consecutive wins, it’s a bit different with series momentum than trying to storm back.

A 2-2 series, though, even if it is going back to Tampa Bay, gives the Islanders a chance to do what they did against the Bruins and wear down the Lightning.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 schedule, TV info]

Oliver Wahlstrom could return to the lineup for Game 4, which could give the Islanders an offensive spark. They’ve struggled to do much of anything against the Lightning defense and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Even their lone win was a 2-1 victory they had to squeeze out.

Unlike the Bruins and Penguins, too, the Islanders aren’t dealing with a struggling or injured goalie, or a depleted defense. The Lightning are as healthy as a team is going to be this time of year, and have as few flaws as anyone.

The playoffs are supposed to get tougher, and while the Islanders are still doing a lot of the things they’ve done right throughout, this is a different challenge. It’s one thing to come back from a deficit against a team playing their eighth defenseman like the Bruins were. It’s another to try to do it against a team that’s barely flinched the entire postseason.

That’s why this Game 4 is more pushed up against a wall than the Islanders have faced all playoffs. Sure, they trailed 2-1 against the Bruins, a team that seemed to have momentum then never won again, but — as the meme goes — the Lightning are just built different.

SATURDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 4: Lightning at Islanders, 8 p.m. ET (TB leads 2-1) – USA Network / Peacock (livestream)

SUNDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 4: Golden Knights at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (MTL leads 2-1) – NBCSN / Peacock (livestream)

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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