Somehow, some way, the Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in game two. New York dominated and scored early. Alex Killorn and Brayden Point would both have early exits. Yet Somehow, the defense and PK held firm. Andrei Vasilevskiy was incredible in making 28 saves. Somehow the Lightning survived long enough for Nikita Kucherov to play superman with 8.8 seconds left.
Islanders Dominate the 1st period
If there was any question as to whether the Islanders were going to respond, it was answered right away. Just as the Lightning scored early in game one, Matt Martin scored at 1:24 of the first period. Tyler Johnson strayed away from Martin for a split second, which allowed him to receive a pass from behind the net and shoot. It would deflect off of Johnson’s stick and behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. In addition to the early goal, the Islanders dominated zone time. New York was quick to recover pucks, stingy on the forecheck, and clogged up the neutral zone. Tampa would be out shot 13-4 in what was a sloppy period for them. A long night if adversity was ahead.
Undisciplined Play shortens the bench and adversity builds
Going into game two, one thing the Lightning could improve upon were taking penalties. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. After taking five penalties on Monday, they would take four tonight including a pivotal 5-on-3 late in the game. Early on however, Alex Killorn would earn a game misconduct and five minute major penalty for boarding. At 5:55 of the first, Killorn would hit Brock Nelson from behind slamming his head against the boards. Since Tampa only had 11 forwards dressed, the lightning would play with 10 forwards for the remainder of the game. The adversity wouldn’t end there. At the end of the first period Brayden Point fell and was slammed sidways into the boards. He would play just under nine minutes the entire game. Already down Killorn, the Bolts would have to push on with nine forwards.
Penalty Kill comes up clutch
Tampa’s penalty kill would go a perfect 4/4 in game two. In addition to not allowing a goal on the five minute major, they would also save the day for Tampa Bay. At 7:48 and 9:10 of the third Ryan McDonagh and Cedric Paqutte would take obstruction penalties. The 5-on-3 seemed like a death sentenced for a clearly tired Lightning team playing with nine forwards. However, they were spectacular. Diving in front of shots, getting to pucks first and withstanding the storm when they couldn’t clear. As Coach Jon Cooper said after the game “It was a gutty effort”.
Somehow Kucherov wins it
Through all the adversity the Lightning found a way to battle back. In the first, it was Victor Hedman. At 18:35 of the first his seeing eye shot would find the back of the net. This would send the Lightning to the room tied at 1 despite being outplayed. In the Third, this scrap heap of a game seemed destined for overtime. Yet energized by their previous penalty kill, the bolts found themselves with a few opportunities late. Yanni gourde would find himself on a partial breakaway after a great feed from Ondrej Palat. He missed that chance but would set up the zone time that would send the Lightning home victorious. With 8.8 seconds left Mcdonagh pinched along the near half way and zipped a pass over to Kucherov. His shot got through Varlamov and the bench erupted. Somehow, some way, the lightning went up 2-0 in this series.
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