Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk bring Stanley Cup experience and intangibles to New York Islanders

TAMPA, Fla. -- Nick Leddy hoisted a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. Johnny Boychuk has his name etched onto the Cup with the Boston Bruins from 2011.

Now they're trying to accomplish hockey's ultimate goal as teammates for the New York Islanders.

As an organization, this is the first time since 1993 the Islanders have reached the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and they own a 1-0 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 2 will be at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Amalie Arena.

The presence of Leddy, 25, and Boychuk, 32, on and off the ice, has been an intangible for the Islanders. Having players with strong voices in the room is especially important during the postseason.

"It makes a big difference," 25-year-old Isles captain John Tavares said. "You lean on those guys for a lot of things. There are momentum swings shift to shift, period to period, and obviously game to game. There are ebbs and flows, and you've got to handle your emotions the right way. The consistency in their game, their skill sets are different, but they're huge parts of our team and what they bring on the ice. In the locker room, they are crucial leaders for us."

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said he believes players like Boychuk and Leddy are an extension of the coaching staff.

"Any great team, when it gets down to this situation, it's about leadership," Capuano said. "It's about accountability. As coaches, we can hold them accountable and you try to guide them to get them to this point, but those guys hold each other accountable.

"If you talk Boychuk and you talk about Chicago's room, or if you talk Nick Leddy and Boston's room, I don't think coaches had to say too much. They had some great leaders in that room who knew what the expectations are."

Part of the reason the Bruins have failed to earn a playoff berth the past two seasons is because they lack that voice in the room. Boston's leadership core of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask are the types of players who lead by example. Boychuk is not afraid to voice his opinion or offer words of encouragement in the room and on the ice. Leddy is more the quiet type.

When Boychuk played for the Bruins, he learned from Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton. When Leddy was with Chicago, he saw how Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane handled the room. Those types of players add an element of experience, which goes a long way during the postseason.

"Maybe just calmness in the room when things get out of hand, or a little bit frantic," Boychuk said. "Just the experience being out there. I remember my first playoffs. I had guys in the room talk to me and make me feel more comfortable. It's kind of like playing your first NHL game, where you're nervous, but you're excited -- but in the playoffs. It's a whole new animal. It's nice to be able to talk to guys, calm them down, just make them feel more comfortable because sometimes in the playoffs your emotions can get the best of you, and if you have a guy that's been through it, talking to you, settling you down, or picking you up, it's a lot easier."

Leddy was only 21 when the Blackhawks won the Cup during the lockout-shortened 2013 season. The grind and dedication it takes to win is grueling.

"It's definitely a process," Leddy said. "A lot of things have to go your way, whether it's injury-free, goalie's playing awesome and the team has to be playing good. A little luck is on your side, too. It's the hardest trophy in any sport to win. There are a lot of variables that have to go your way and you've just got to make the best of it."