Point Scores Game-Winner as Tampa Bay Lightning Take Game 3 Over New York Islanders
Bolts Silence the Crowd
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 18, 2021
Thursday was the first Stanley Cup semifinal game played at Nassau Coliseum since 1993. Understandably, Islanders fans were raucous leading up to puck drop. New York evidently fed off the energy, jumping out to an early shot lead.
Kyle Palmieri got the first good scoring chance of the game. He took a feed from behind the net by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, getting stopped point-blank by Andrei Vasilevskiy. A few minutes later, Lightning struck.
A quick Tampa Bay breakout led to Blake Coleman getting an opportunity on the rush. His initial shot attempt was blocked, but he directed the puck across the goalmouth. Yanni Gourde streaked into the zone untouched and tapped in the game’s first goal, silencing the Islanders’ faithful with his third goal of the playoffs. It was the second game in a row the Lightning scored the first goal of the game.
The first 20 minutes ended 1-0 for Tampa Bay as they also led the shot clock, 9-7.
Isles Find Their Identity; Point Responds
The momentum Tampa gained toward the end of the opening frame carried over into the second. The Bolts generated solid scoring chances while New York struggled to get any sustained pressure.
At the midway point of the frame, an extended shift in the Tampa end resulted in a couple of scoring chances from Pageau and Palmieri. Energy pulsed through the team, as Mathew Barzal spent a lengthy shift in the offensive zone, generating a couple of scoring chances of his own.
Tampa’s Mikhail Sergachev took the game’s first penalty for roughing after the whistle. New York mustered a couple of chances on the powerplay but could not connect.
About a minute after the man advantage ended, the Islanders’ “identity line”, which features Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, struck. A weird bounce on a dump-in led to the puck being directed in front of the net. In the frenzy, Cal Clutterbuck poked it home for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Energy returned to Nassau Coliseum, but not for long.
Shortly after the Islanders tied it, they found themselves shorthanded after an Adam Pelech interference call late in the period. Just as the penalty expired, Brayden Point notched his league-leading 11th goal of the playoffs with just 18 seconds remaining in the frame. It was the sixth straight game in which Point found the back of the net.
— Dave Randorf (@DaveRandorf) June 18, 2021
New York outshot Tampa 13-9 in the second but trailed 2-1 heading into the third.
Bolts’ Stanley Cup Pedigree Shows
The Lightning showed why they are defending Stanley Cup champions in the third. Leading by a goal with 20 minutes remaining, Tampa Bay gave up only eight shots on goal in the final frame. The Bolts blocked or deflected anything the Islanders threw at the net. The Lightning blocked 21 total shots in the game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning successfully held on to take Game 3, 2-1. Game 4 of the series will go on Saturday in Long Island.
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