Can the Islanders Keep ‘Grinding and Grinding’ Their Way to the Cup Final?

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The NHL does not award extra points for artistic impression, so the New York Islanders need not worry about that. In fact, the most creative they got in their 2-1 double overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final came in the celebration on Jordan Eberle’s winning goal when goalie Semyon Varlamov slid along the ice and into the mass of humanity in white sweaters.

This is not an indictment of the Islanders. Barry Trotz is a brilliant coach and as good a person as you’ll meet in the game. GM Lou Lamoriello is a proven winner and one of the greatest team builders the NHL has ever seen. The Islanders work extremely hard and respond to adversity in a very admirable way. They are here because they deserve to be here. They’ve beaten more talented teams to get to this point and if they manage to somehow come back and win this series, they will have won two straight series after trailing 3-1.