In-Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the New York Islanders found themselves down in the series by two games. Despite the Tampa Bay Lightning missing two of their top forwards, Brayden Point and Alex Killorn. Tampa’s offence didn’t seem to miss a beat. Yet, they were still unable to come up with the win. Even though the Lightning dominated for most of the game. Brock Nelson, Semyon Varlamov, and the rest of the Islanders are able to pull together a win to crawl within one game of the Lightning heading into Sundays Game 4.
Valsevskiy Good, Early and Often
In the first period, Tampa Bays Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall in net. Handling every shot that was sent his way with ease. Vasilevskiy has been Tampas rock this whole playoff tournament and he continued that in the first. Both teams came out of the gate firing. In the first period, the two teams combined for 30 total shots. 14 for Tampa and 16 for the Islanders. Of those shots, only one found the back of the net for New York.
After a scrum in front, one of Vaselvskiys pad straps came undone. Tampa’s defence was too worried about that and the whistle to notice the Islanders were still playing the game. The puck found its way out of the corner to Cal Clutterbuck‘s stick. He rips it upstairs to take a one to nothing lead in the first. With the way, Vasilevskiy has been playing lately, if it weren’t for that distraction. He should have no problem keeping that puck from going in behind him
Tampa came right back, dominating the Islander’s offensive zone. Leading to Mikhail Sergachev scoring a nice backhand goal from the high slot to tie the game at one apiece. The Tampa Bay forwards have continued to do a nice job of supporting their defenseman all over the ice and that support leads to a goal. Yanni Gourde held the blue line with great patience and poise. After gaining control of the puck, he walked the blue line, drawing two Islanders defenders towards him. He then dished the puck to Sergachev, who snuck behind said defenders, starting breaking towards the net. From forehand to backhand, Sergachev buries it top corner from the high slot.
Islanders Look Sloopy, Wake-up in the Second Period
The Islanders had some opportunities but nothing special until later into the period. It took New York a few minutes to find their groove again. At the beginning of the game, they honestly looked tired. They seemed slow and delayed when chasing after loose pucks. In their defensive zone, the Islanders kinda seemed like they were just puck watching while the Lightning zipped the puck all over the zone.
This continued throughout the game, the Islander’s energy and pace ebbed and flowed. With that being said, halfway through the second period, New York found a spark. At the 11:50 mark into the second, Adam Pelech found the back of the net. Only two minutes later the Islanders would light the lamp again. Anthony Beauvillier scored off a pass from Brock Nelson, who found himself behind the net with the puck, causing confusion between the Tampa defenseman. Leaving Beauvillier open just long enough to sneak one by and take a two-goal lead. Moving towards the end of the period, the Islanders lost their momentum again and we saw Tampa Bay begin to pour on the shots again. The Lightning gained the momentum back and carried that into the third period.
Tampa Bay’s Comeback Falls Short, Brock Nelson Wins it Late
In a game that saw both teams offensives come alive, but the Islanders made it out on top. By the end of the game, both the Islanders and the Lightning recorded 72 total shots. Suiting for a game that ended 5-3. Regardless of New Yorks’s inconsistency, they were able to take a late lead off a goal from Brock Nelson. A turn over by the Tampa defence allowed the Islanders to keep the puck in the zone. After a beautiful pass from Beauvillier, the puck found its way to Nelson who scores to make it 4-3 with 3:27 left in the third.
Later on, Jean-Gabriel Pageau hits the empty net to make the game 5-3. Immediately after a few scrums between the Islanders and Lightning ensued, which should lead to a very enjoyable Game 4. Even though the Islanders didn’t play their best game, their bench boss Barry Trotz has the team believing the can and will skate with the best of them.
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