The New York Islanders are down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Final, after losing 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night.
Matt Martin opened the scoring just a minute and a half into the game, when he got a pass from Nick Leddy and managed to deflect a shot off of Tyler Johnson’s stick and over Andrei Vasilevskiy. Despite the Islanders controlling most of the period and outshooting the Lightning 13-4, Tampa Bay did tie it with under two minutes to go in the period, when Victor Hedman’s point shot got through a screen and found its way in off the post.
Through the next two periods, the teams traded a few chances but it was generally a fairly slow game. However, with just eight seconds left, Nikita Kucherov got a cross-crease pass from Ryan McDonagh and he buried past Varlamov to secure a win for Tampa Bay.
Despite the loss and the disappointing way in which the game ended, I’m happy with how the Islanders played in Game 2. I suppose it didn’t mean a ton based on the loss but they showed they can certainly keep up against the Lightning and control play. New York played their game and did a much, much better job of keeping shots to the outside.
Semyon Varlamov got the start over Thomas Greiss, which was at least somewhat surprising to me. Varlamov did have to make some good saves and was solid overall, even if he was outplayed by Vasilevskiy. I’d imagine he’s back in for Game 3. I was also surprised to see Andrew Ladd get into game action, even with New York's rotation of wingers throughout the playoffs thus far.
If the Islanders had converted on even one of the great chances they missed, this could have gone a different way. If New York can bring the same effort for Game 3, I’d feel pretty confident in the Islanders getting back into the series.
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