The Wraparound: Islanders find themselves in new spot

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.

This series has gone a bit differently for the Islanders.

Instead of surging forward following their Game 4  win over the Lightning, they lost their next game, an 8-0 obliteration in Tampa Bay.

Those aren’t the best vibes to bounce back from, especially when not only do the Islanders need to win the next two, but the Lightning have to lose two for the first time all playoffs.

It’s a tough spot they’ve put themselves in, and as a result the first time they are facing elimination all postseason.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

“I just think the game, this result, how we played ….If that doesn’t motivate us, then I’m not too sure what will,” said Islanders head coach Barry Trotz following the Game 5 loss. “There’s nothing I can say that will motivate them. We’ve just gotta man up. We have to understand all the things we need to do, and [that] this group does. We have to leave our best game out there now. Because obviously tonight wasn’t our best game. We put ourselves in a real tough bind.”

Game 5 was so different than every game the Islanders played all postseason. Tampa Bay led in less than a minute in on Steven Stamkos‘ first goal. The Islanders never recovered.

The Islanders didn’t allow eight goals all season, until Monday night. It was the most out-of-character type of performance at their most inopportune time.

The penalty is facing the Lightning down a game and trying to force them to do something they haven’t done, either.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 schedule, TV info]

“A loss is a loss this time of year,” said forward Kyle Palmieri. “Whether it was in double overtime or the way it went tonight. We’ll wake up tomorrow down 3-2 and with our backs against the wall. But we have a chance to win a game at home. That’s all we’re focused on right now.”

The Islanders have faced adversity all season, between their weak end-of-season to fall into fourth, trailing the Penguins and then trailing the Bruins. They’ve always responded well.

As evidenced by Mat Barzal’s ill-advised crosscheck and game misconduct in Game 5, they’re out of sorts right now in a way they haven’t been, though. This isn’t trailing by a game against a Bruins team they’ve seen all year, this is a Lightning team that hasn’t been pinned down all playoffs.

And so far, the Islanders haven’t handled it well. They’re one win away from forcing an anything-can-happen Game 7, but the frustration from Game 5 won’t fly if they want to avoid Wednesday being their actual last game at Nassau Coliseum.

WEDNESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 6: Lightning at Islanders, 8 p.m. ET (TB leads 3-2) – NBCSN / Peacock (livestream)

THURSDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 6: Golden Knights at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (MTL leads 3-2) – USA Network / 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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