It’s not often that a D-man literally saves a game. That was the case Saturday night. Ryan Pulock of the Islanders played hero and saved the Isles’ bacon. He blocked a shot on the goal-line in a one-goal game, the Isles up one. The Tampa Bay Lightning now have three games to control their fate. For a chance to play for back-to-back glory. While this loss stung, it provides the Bolts jump heading into game five. A fantastic third period wasn’t quite enough, but how did we get there? A tale of two periods.
The first period was in a way all Tampa. That is on the shot clock, where they dominated. Lots of perimeter shots, though, and not too much danger. Not to mention, the Isles hit the post twice in the frame. We were scoreless after twenty.
Isles dominate second thoroughly
The middle period was a straight up debacle. Disaster. Any word you have. It was just bad. Turnovers. An irresponsible penalty from Erik Cernak put the Bolts shorthanded. A 4-on-3, as the teams were four aside before the infraction. While the Islanders didn’t bury, they gained steam and eventually put a second by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Josh Bailey had made it 1-0 on a wicked release.
The second goal was a rebound, but not a terrible goal, put home by Mat Barzal. The third goal by Matt Martin was one Vasilevskiy would want back, on a bad rebound, and a squeaker of a shot. That goal would eventually cost the Lightning, but not for a lack of chances and a fabulous effort in the third.
Here come the Bolts
The Lightning threw everything but the kitchen sink at New York in the final 20. It started with a puck thrown at the net by Brayden Point that found a home on Semyon Varlomov. Next, an absolute wheel and snipe by Tyler Johnson to make it a one-goal game with plenty of time to tie.
Game of inches
The Lightning had three, yes three grade-A chances to get square. Ross Colton had one miss just by a hare, that Varlamov got a piece of. Then, Varlomov got Nikita Kucherov with a robbery.
In the first two periods, Kucherov was a turnover machine. He also just didn’t look engaged, and a little lazy at times. He made up for it in the third with a few looks including the above.
Game, set, match. Isles.
The Pulock save will go down in Islanders history if they’re able to win the series. A game-saver, possibly, as the Lightning would’ve had all the mojo heading to an extra session.
Instead, a 2-2 series. Anyone’s game as the Bolts take back home ice advantage Monday night.
Our three stars of the game
- Ryan Pulock: Game-saver.
- Matt Martin: Physical, and the GWG to boot.
- Tyler Johnson: Improving steadily, ‘TJ’ had a snipe and a good all around game.
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