The Islanders saw the Lightning even up the series 1-1, falling to Tampa Bay 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Here are some key takeaways ...
- Early in the game, Tampa Bay found themselves with a four-on-three power play after some rough play in the first few minutes. The Lightning sent five shots on Semyon Varlamov during the power play, including a point-blank look, but Varlamov was up to the test, stopping all five shots and helping kill the power play.
The Lighting would strike first later in the first period, though. After Adam Pelech turned the puck over behind the net, Brayden Point was left all alone in front of the net, and his shot beat Varlamov up high to give Tampa a 1-0 lead nearly midway through the period.
- Still in the first, Point went flying in on net on a scoring chance, but ended up crashing into Varlamov. Point was called for interference, but Varlamov had to come out of the game, bringing rookie Ilya Sorokin into the action with about seven minutes left in the period.
- The Isles took advantage of the power play, as Brock Nelson set up in the slot and had a deflected puck land right on his stick, as he beat Andrei Vasilevski to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:30 to go in the first. The score would stay that way through the end of the period, a testy first 15 minutes in which both teams picked up 11 penalty minutes.
- Varlamov was back in net for the Isles to start the second. Sorokin stopped all six shots he faced in relief. Afterwards, Barry Trotz explained that Varlamov wanted to stay in the game, but NHL Player Safety had him go into the locker room as part of the concussion protocol.
The Lightning regained the lead 2-1 with 6:45 left in the second, as Ondrej Palat notched his third goal of the postseason. Victor Hedman whipped a pass the length of the ice, hitting Nikita Kucherov on his stick. Kucherov held on to the puck, spun, and found a wide open Palat in the slot, who beat Varlamov to put Tampa Bay up by one after two periods.
- Early in the third, the Islanders turned the puck over in their own zone while trying to clear it up the ice, and Jan Rutta ripped a slapshot that beat Varlamov up high to make to a 3-1 Tampa lead.
- Later in the third, Hedman added a power play goal to make it a 4-1 game, as it proved to just not be the Islanders' night on Tuesday. But Mat Barzal kept things interesting, cleaning up a Jordan Eberle rebound to beat Vasilevski and make it a 4-2 game with 3:16 to go. But that's as close as they would get.
The series shifts to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.