Barry Trotz is no longer the head coach of the Capitals, but he shared the same playoff fate as his former team. Trotz’s New York Islanders were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday in a 5-2 loss, falling in just four games.
The Islanders blew through the first round in four games as they swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in dominant fashion. Sidney Crosby was held to only one point as New York put on a defensive clinic against the Penguins, a team Trotz and the Caps defeated in the 2018 postseason en route to the Stanley Cup. The script was flipped in the second round as the Islanders were swept by the Hurricanes. New York is now the first team since 1993 to sweep one series and get swept in the very next.
Carolina stunned the Caps in seven games in the first round, robbing the hockey world of the fascinating matchup of the defending Stanley Cup champions facing their former head coach in the very next year in in the playoffs. Two days after winning Game 7 in overtime, the Hurricanes were in Brooklyn for Game 1 against the Islanders, a team that had not played in 10 days. In this case, momentum proved to be more important than rest.
The two games in New York very closely contested as both games were decided by one goal and Game 1 went to overtime. The Islanders were held to only one goal in those first two games before the series shifted to Raleigh. Like against Washington, Carolina took full advantage of home ice outscoring New York 10-4 in two games.
And so the Stanley Cup winning coach now joins his former team in the offseason as neither will be repeating in 2019. In his first season on Long Island, Trotz did a tremendous job taking an Islanders team that had lost John Tavares in the offseason and had not made the playoffs since 2016. In 2017-18, New York finished dead last in the NHL in goals against per game (3.57). Trotz turned the defense around completely in his first season as the Islanders improved to 2.33 goals against per game, good for first in the league. He is one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.
The Caps, meanwhile, edged out the Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division in Todd Reirden’s first season as head coach for Washington. Now they are left wondering what if after seeing the Hurricanes blow through the Islanders with such ease. The Caps had a 2-0 and 3-2 series lead against Carolina and also led in Game 6 and Game 7 with a chance to eliminate the Hurricanes.
As for the “bunch of jerks” in Carolina, they now await the winners of the Columbus Blue Jackets – Boston Bruins series which is currently tied at two games apiece.
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