The Islanders started much, much better than in Game 5. Despite not generating a ton of offense, they really shut down Tampa Bay’s forwards, allowing just six shots in the frame. Still, the Lightning managed to get on the board first, as Brayden Point prevented a pass from Adam Pelech behind the Islanders’ net, then got back out front to put in a loose puck. Despite being down 1-0, it was at least a step in the right direction, compared to what we saw in Game 5. Another key piece of news from the frame: Nikita Kucherov left the game with an injury and did not return.
Tampa Bay would extend their lead a little over halfway through the second period, as Anthony Cirelli used his speed to get in on a partial breakaway coming down the wing and beat Semyon Varlamov five-hole to make it a 2-0 game. The Islanders would cut the lead back down to a single goal just two minutes later though, as Jordan Eberle got a pass on the rush and beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with a great release on a backhand shot.
New York entered the third period needing a goal and pressed hard, getting some good chances and had a power play opportunity partway through the frame. However, it was Scott Mayfield who was able to tie the game after the penalty expired, getting a pass after some great moves by Mathew Barzal and beating Vasilevskiy with a perfectly placed shot coming down the wing. The Islanders then managed to kill off a penalty with around five minutes left to play, sending the game to overtime.
The extra frame didn’t last long, as Blake Coleman committed a rare defensive zone turnover right to Anthony Beauvillier, who beat Vasilevskiy to send the series to a Game 7.
Needless to say, but was a much better effort from the Islanders. The difference in the number of quality chances they allowed through the game was huge, especially off the rush.
Mathew Barzal was excellent, especially in the third period. He was flying all over the Lightning’s end and it showed again that he’s capable of taking over a game when he wants to.
So now we go to Game 7. Nikita Kucherov’s status is unclear and his absence would be a huge loss for Tampa Bay, even if they did adjust to playing without him throughout the entire regular season.
Either way, the Islanders have a chance to book their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals tomorrow night.
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Game 7 - Make your pick on who advances to the Stanley Cup Finals: