The Islanders were outshot by an 11-4 margin in the first period but the game wasn’t as lopsided early on as the shots made it seem. New York got some great chances, with both Kyle Palmieri and Mathew Barzal hitting the post, though Semyon Varlamov did have to be sharp on some good chances from the Lightning to keep the game scoreless.
After starting a bit slow in the second period, New York took over the game. The Islanders opened the scoring a little over five minutes into the period, as Brock Nelson made a great play to buy some time with the puck in the offensive zone, before feeding Josh Bailey, who beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with a great shot. New York would make it 2-0 later in the period, as Vasilevskiy allowed a bad rebound off a point shot and Barzal was in front of the net to cash in on the loose puck. The Islanders were able to add to their lead once more before the end of the period, as Matt Martin got to a loose puck in front of the net and backhanded it over Vasilevskiy.
In the third period, however, the Lightning would start to claw their way back. First, Brayden Point was able to pick a corner on the rush to beat Semyon Varlamov, on a shot that came from a bit of a distance. Then Tyler Johnson had a great individual effort, sticking with the puck after an initial shot and keeping control of it, scoring with a great shot to cut the lead to 3-2 with over 13 minutes left to play. New York did a pretty good job limiting chances after that, but Tampa Bay did have one final great opportunity to tie the game.
In the dying seconds, the puck came out to Ryan McDonagh who was all alone, coming down from the point. Brock Nelson quickly dove to try and take the puck off him, but McDonagh was able to make a great move to spin around Nelson. While falling, he was then able to put the puck by Varlamov towards the open net, but Ryan Pulock made an outstanding save on the goal line to keep the puck out and secure the win for New York.
Without a doubt, that was certainly one of the wildest endings to a hockey game I’ve ever seen. It was a great play by Pulock that will probably be remembered for a very long time.
This was also a strong win for the Islanders. I thought they played well in both their home games and despite allowing the Lightning back into the game in the third period, they held on to even the series. It’s now down to a best-of-three to decide which team moves on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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Was that one of the wildest endings to a hockey game that you've seen?