Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy marked his fourth career shutout in the playoffs, helping the defending Stanley Cup champions beat the Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 of their halfway playoff series. final, Monday evening.
“I like to think we are playing determined all the time, not just tonight,” said coach Jon Cooper after his team came close to winning a Stanley Cup final return.
“It’s definitely a reaction and a state of mind and it starts with our goalie,” said Stamkos.
“Vasy just has an incredible ability to bounce back, whether he’s playing well or not. But when we lose, he takes it personally, ”added the Lightning captain. “He was exceptional, made some big saves early, calmed us down, we scored goals and gained confidence. “
The Lightning have improved to 13-0 in games after a playoff loss since launching their 2020 title race and will take a 3-2 lead over the Islanders in Game 6 of their best-of-seven clash. Wednesday night in Uniondale, New York.
Game 7, if necessary, would return to Florida on Friday.
“We will have to have our best game, the best effort of every player on our team. And if we do that, we’ll be back here for Game 7, ”Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.
“This result, the way we played, if that doesn’t motivate us, I’m not sure what will,” added Trotz. “We got into a stalemate. “
Stamkos kicked off a three-goal first period – the first against the Islanders all season – scoring just 45 seconds into the game. His power play goal 5:42 of the second kicked off another three-goal period that drove the score to 6-0.
Alex Killorn finished with two goals, Brayden Point delivered his 13th in the playoffs, and playoff scoring leader Nikita Kucherov extended his playoff point streak to eight games with three assists for Tampa Bay, who did not ‘hasn’t lost a back-to-back playoff game since being swept away by Columbus in the first round in 2019.
Point has scored one goal in eight straight games, the second longest single-season streak in NHL history.
“It’s playoff time. These are not personal statistics. Wins are what matters, ”said Point, whose power-play goal brings the score to 7-0.
Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, stopped all 21 shots he faced in his third playoff shutout this year. The Vezina Trophy finalist also shut out Florida and Carolina in the dropout series in the first two rounds.
Essentially picking up where the Lightning left off in a furious third-period rally that narrowly failed in a 3-2 loss in Game 4, Stamkos, Yanni Gourde and Killorn scored in the first 15:27 to make it Quickly working Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was replaced by Ilya Sorokin after conceding three goals on just 16 shots.
“This group has a lot of pride. … I thought our answer (in the third period on Saturday) carried over to tonight, ”Cooper said. “I loved the effort. But in the end, it’s a victory. It’s a clean slate in two nights.
The Islanders held on to win Game 4, leveling the series at two games apiece, when defenseman Ryan Pulock’s dip in the dying seconds prevented the Lightning from pushing overtime. But since using a three-goal period to take command on Saturday night, New York has been outscored 10-0 in the last four periods of the series.
“A loss is a loss this time of year. Whether it’s double overtime or how it was tonight, ”said New York forward Kyle Palmieri.
“We’re going to wake up 3-2, go home with our backs against the wall,” Palmieri added. “But we have a chance to win a home game and that’s all we’re focusing on now. “
Tampa Bay’s sparkling record in games after a playoff loss comes just after being swept away by Columbus in the first round two years ago. It’s the longest such streak in NHL history, and Vasilevskiy has been the goaltender in each of the wins. Kucherov is a team leader of 26 points (5 goals, 21 assists) in 13 games.
STRIP OF POINTS
Point, who leads the league with 13 playoff goals, is the second player in NHL history to score a goal in at least eight consecutive playoff games in a single year. Reggie Leach had a 10-goal streak for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976.
Islanders center Mathew Barzel missed the third period after receiving a major penalty for passing Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta at the end of the second period. Barzel also received a misconduct penalty for the game.
The Lightning are 11-1 when they scored the first playoff goal, 0-4 when they didn’t.