The Islanders had a strong start, with the crowd in the game and New York getting some shots on Andrei Vasilevskiy right off the bat. Tampa Bay would strike first though, as Blake Coleman got a loose puck through the crease to Yanni Gourde, who beat Semyon Varlamov. The Lightning would continue to sustain pressure after the goal and took over a bit, but the game remained 1-0 after the opening frame.
The Lightning picked up where they left off in and continued to control play early in the second period. At a certain point, however, the momentum changed and the Islanders really started to keep the Lightning stuck in their zone for stretches of time. With a few minutes to go in the frame, Cal Clutterbuck battled for a rebound after a shot from Matt Martin and Erik Cernak mishandled the loose puck, as it slid through Vasilevskiy to tie the game. The Lightning would quickly take back the lead though, as Brayden Point managed to shovel the puck on net while falling with only about 20 seconds remaining in the frame to beat Varlamov.
The Islanders outshot the Lightning in the third period as well and did get some decent chances, while limiting much offense for Tampa Bay. However, the majority of New York’s chances did come from the outside and they also couldn’t generate much in the final few minutes, as they tried to sustain pressure in the Lightning’s end and Tampa Bay was able to hold on for a 2-1 win.
This was a game where I thought the Islanders probably deserved a better fate. They were able to control stretches of the game, did a great job staying out of the box overall and played a really strong game after the first period (and the early part of the second period). However, they couldn’t bury their chances and now find themselves behind in the series.
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