Lightning faces Islanders in dominant win to open Eastern final


Braydon Point and the well-rested Tampa Bay Lightning looked like an invigorated team eager to come out of an extended hiatus after changing cities in the NHL playoff bubble.The New York Islanders, on the other hand, seemed tired of traveling and playing.

Point scored twice and added three assists in an 8-2 battle against the Islanders to open the Eastern Conference final on Monday night. Nikita Kucherov had four assists and scored his 34th career playoff goal to pass Martin St. Louis for first on the franchise list.

The Lightning showed no signs of rusting after a week-long hiatus after knocking out the Boston Bruins in their second-round series with a 3-2 double overtime victory on Aug.31. Rather, they looked like a refreshed team scoring nine shots three times to build a 3-1 lead at the 10:46 mark of the first period and tied a franchise record for most goals scored in a playoff game.

The Islanders, by comparison, came out flat, looking like a team that spent Sunday traveling to Edmonton, Alta. From Toronto, a day after a 4-0 win over Philadelphia in Game 7 of their second round series.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo recaps Lightnings’s resounding victory:

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“Let’s be honest, this is a unique event. They had to go through a seven game streak and then travel and play and change the time zone, ”said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

“Now we are on a level playing field. There is no travel. Everyone is resting, ”he added. It’s easy to tell now that the game went the way it did. The bottom line is you have to take advantage of a tired team. Let’s be honest, it was a unique event. ”

The five-point nights of Point and Kucherov set a playoff franchise record. Yanni Gourde scored twice, Victor Hedman had one goal and two assists and Ryan McDonagh and Ondrej Palat also scored for the second-seeded Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves and the Lightning have five straight wins, which is their longest playoff streak since 2015.

The second game will take place on Wednesday.

Thomas Greiss, who stopped 16 shots in winning his first postseason shutout on Saturday, was drawn after giving up three goals on nine shots. He was replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who gave up five goals on 25 shots.

Jordan Eberle briefly tied the game at 1 with a power play goal for New York, the only remaining team to make a playoff series in the preliminary round. Nick Leddy’s third-period goal briefly reduced the Lightning’s lead to 6-2.

Islanders captain Anders refused to use the team’s short turnaround time as an excuse.

“We’ve been through trips and transitions like these regular season playoffs before, so it only takes a few minutes to get you back in your place a little bit and then you settle in,” Lee said. “I don’t think it’s representative of the whole game. ”

The eight goals against was a bare minimum, following an 8-3 loss to the New York Rangers in the Islanders’ second playoff game on April 10, 1975.

“Every time we made a mistake they scored,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.

The first goal reflected the disparity of rest between the two teams.

Point opened the scoring at 74 seconds by blowing up the left wing, stepping around Ryan Pulock, heading for the net and wrapping the puck around Greiss.

Hedman said the goal gave the Lightning an immediate boost.

“Obviously we haven’t played for a week, and we were wondering how the start was going to go, and then Pointer will,” Hedman said. “I think he set the tone from the start. ”

After Eberle scored, the Lightning scored two goals from consecutive shots, deviating at 2:34.

Hedman, of the blue line and set up by Point’s blind pass, threw a shot into the left post with Greiss filtered out by Alex Killorn of Tampa Bay for a power play goal. Then McDonagh beat Greiss high on the short side of the left circle.

Point extended his points streak to seven games, in which he combined four goals and 12 assists. He also has a point in 13 of Tampa Bay’s 14 playoff games this year.

Island frustration

The Lightning stacked up scoring twice in the second period, including a delayed goal scored by Gourde after an NHL video review as the game progressed. The horn was sounded 14 seconds after Gourde’s shot crossed the goal line and bounced off Islanders defenseman Andy Greene’s stick, who was in the net.

Islanders line of control forward Cal Clutterbuck briefly returned to the bench but did not play in the third period. He limped halfway through the second period, after taking Mikail Sergachev’s slap on his right ankle.

Trotz had no updates on Clutterbuck’s status.

Frustration also set in late in the second period, when Mathew Barzal of New York angrily slammed his stick on the glass after a missed opportunity to score.

No positive COVID-19 test for the 6th consecutive week

The NHL has had no positive COVID-19 tests for the sixth week in a row, the league said Monday.

A total of 2,534 tests were administered from August 30 to September. 5, with all 52 members of each club’s traveling groups, including players, tested daily.

The number of tests administered fell to 4,644 two weeks ago as teams were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs and left bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto.

Only four teams – the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders – remain in the Stanley Cup playoffs, all now housed in Edmonton as the season draws to a close.


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