NHL Eastern Conference Final Game Day: 9-13-20 Lightning v Islanders

Top line puts the Lightning on the brink of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.

TB-4
NYI-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the win. Tough game for Vasilevskiy mentally because he had exactly squat to do for 30 minutes and then suddenly the game went into overdrive and he had to make several key situational saves.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
11:27 NYI Nelson (9), (Bailey)
11:42 TB Coleman (4), (Gourde, Vasilevskiy)
11:54 TB Palat (8), (Kucherov, Point)

Third Period
3:33 TB Point (9), (Palat, Kucherov)
17:36 TB Maroon (1), (Gourde, Paquette)(EN)

Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

This game scarier than maybe it should've been, but ultimately it went to plan. The Lightning dominated the play for the first half an hour of hockey and probably deserved to have about a 2-0 lead but couldn't find the back of the net. Brock Nelson struck for the first goal and it felt for a second (and only a second) like the hockey gods were going to betray the Lightning, but two quick response goals from Coleman and Palat and the Lightning were on their way. The team's skill level really showed through with the long aerial pass from Gourde to Coleman for the breakaway and the sweet deke finish and then a pretty filthy three way passing play on Palat's goal. The top line had another pretty filthy passing play on the rush for the goal early in the Third Period and that was all the Lightning needed.

The Lightning were just the better team today both at even strength and in all situations. The shot totals show it. The possession stats show it. The xG fancy stats show it. The Islanders have thrown their best punches in these past three games and really I would argue the Lightning are a Ryan McDonagh hand grenade pass from ending this in a sweep. As it is, they'll try to finish this series off on Tuesday. Hopefully Brayden Point feels well enough to go again and some Lightning players who I thought looked a little bushed for parts of this game like Victor Hedman get some good rest. With Dallas being up 3-1 in the WCF it behooves the Lightning to end this Tuesday just in case Dallas does the same tomorrow.

The Lightning being 62% on draws doesn't stink. Great to see.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.