Aggressive offense was the name of the game as the Lightning end the road trip with a much-needed victory to take 2nd place in the division. Victor Hedman set a new career high while Alex Killorn reached 50 points on the season. After a rough start to the road trip Tampa looked to get a string of wins and keep up with the Florida Panthers for the division lead. The offense never kept their foot off the pedal and that aggressive playing propelled them past the New York Islanders.
Physical start to the game
Quickly, the Lightning applied the pressure on goaltender Ilya Sorokin. Early in the period Matt Martin and Cory Perry got in a scuffle and are sent off for rouging. Due to the scuffle Pat Maroon and Ross Johnston drop the gloves and both get 5 minutes for fighting. Afterwards, the goalies stole the show stopping every shot that came their way. Midway through the period momentum shifted in favor of the Islanders. Andrei Vasilevskiy remained a brick wall as did Sorokin. Erik Cernak went to the box for tripping, but the Islanders were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. Then, Kyle Palmieri is called for interference, but like the Islanders Tampa could not score on the power play.
Islanders light the lamp
To start off, New York received the scoring chance they were waiting for. Brayden Point lost the puck which gave the Islanders a 3-on-2 odd-man rush. Brock Nelson took advantage and gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead late in the period. Again, Tampa could not figure out Sorokin despite generating chances on offense. Before the period would end Zdeno Chara was called for tripping. Bolts were on the power play to end the period that carried over into the second period.
Career high for Hedman
The 2nd period started off exactly how Tampa wanted it to. As the power play was set to expire Hedman took command and tied the game. For Hedman it would be his 18th goal of the season setting a career high for the veteran defenseman. Hedman stayed in the zone nearly scoring again on another power play, but the puck rung off the post. Tampa was hoping to tire out the Islanders defense with constant rushes to the net. Islanders aggressive penalty kill stayed sharp to keep the game tied at 1. Vasy continued to bail the team out after they had troubles getting fresh players on the ice. Despite having tired players on the ice Tampa extended the lead.
Lightning score on odd-man chance
Somehow, Anthony Cirelli is able to generate a 2-on-1 chance and set up Alex Killorn for a goal. Killorn’s goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead giving him 50 points total for the season. This was the second goal of the game to be scored due to an odd-man rush. Then, Perry is called for interference while Jan Rutta and Martin are called for roughing. Special teams would be hard at work as they were for the opening period. Tampa killed of the penalty to maintain their 2-1 lead. Coast-to-coast play lasted for the remainder of the period with the Islanders netting the equalizer. Jean-Gabriel Pageau fired a perfect backhand past Vasy to even the score 2-2. However, Lightning challenged the goal for possible offsides. The goal then was taken off the board as the officials deemed it offsides keeping the score 2-1 Lightning heading into the third period.
Sorokin out, enter Varlamov
Prior to the face off to begin the period, Islanders replaced Sorokin with Semyon Varlamov due to what appeared to be an injury. Sorokin did take many shots up high which caused his mask to fall off a handful of times and ultimately take him out of the game. Lightning looked to take advantage of a struggling Varlamov and add to their lead. Islanders’ fore-checking was on point to contain the offense of the Lightning. Eventually, with 10:50 to go the Lightning added to their lead. Ross Colton chipped the rebound from Mikhail Sergachev’s shot to give the Bolts a 3-1 lead. That was a goal Varlamov would like to have back as it slipped off his glove preventing him from controlling the puck. Keeping the aggressive play going is what helped the Lightning prevent the Islanders from a comeback attempt.
Aggressive offense seals the deal
Kyle Palmieri tripped Steven Stamkos giving the Bolts their fourth power play of the game. Lightning looked to seal the win with a goal on the man advantage. Once again Tampa was unable to add to their lead as the Islanders impressive penalty kill got the job done. Point went to the box for holding the stick and the Islanders looked for some life with six minutes to go. After, Bolts killed off the penalty and added to their lead. Sergachev took his own rebound and tucked it past Varlamov giving the Lightning a 4-1 lead. To sum up, the goal was the final nail in the coffin for the Islanders and the Lightning leave UBS Arena with the victory.
Three Stars of the game
1st Star: Mikhail Sergachev – 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 hits
2nd Star: Victor Hedman – 1 goal, 3 blocks
3rd Star: Ross Colton – 1 goal
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