Islanders' Barry Trotz, Lou Lamoriello discuss outlook on upcoming series vs. Lightning

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Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello Zoom call
Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello Zoom call

The Islanders are back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year, and just like last season, they'll have to go through the Tampa Bay Lightning to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

Only this time the Lightning are the defending champs. Tampa defeated the Islanders in six games last season before going on to do the same over the Dallas Stars and raise Lord Stanley's Cup.

This time around head coach Barry Trotz, president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders hope to be the ones playing for the cup -- that's just how expectations work in this business.

"The expectations for every team each and every year is to be where we are today. It's how you approach it throughout the year," Lamoriello said. "And the experience that our players had last year, it certainly puts that focus just in a little higher direction than it was the year before. I'm not surprised with that expectation and would be very disappointed if that expectation wasn't there."

Because of the Covid-altered schedule this season, the Islanders and Lightning haven't faced each other since Game 6 of last year's East Finals.

But Trotz believes the fact that most of his players were a part of that series, in fact, helps them a lot.

"They understand when we're talking about certain trends or the way they play," he said.

Trotz came to New York to try to recapture the championship moment he secured with the Washington Capitols back in 2018, and has turned around this once down franchise and led them to two-straight semifinals.

He came here for that challenge.

"When I got a chance to come here, I wasn't afraid of the challenge," Trotz said. "I think you're intrigued by it and didn't know if we were going to have success or not. But I knew it wasn't going to be from a lack of trying, or a lack of people. ... If you continue down the right path and believe in what you're doing, you're going to have success."