NHL Eastern Conference Final Game Night: 9-11-20 Lightning v Islanders

Lightning let the Islanders slip the noose.


Tampa Bay Leads the Series 2-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss. Bum luck on the first goal where his pad strap came undone and he was out there having to play basically on one leg. He probably wants the Beauvillier goal back that snuck under his arm, but I can't get too mad given the coverage bust there.

First Period
12:58 NYI Clutterbuck (Pulock, Martin)
16:31 TB Sergachev (2), (Gourde)

Second Period
11:50 NYI Pelech (1), (Pageau, Barzal)
13:50 NYI Beauvillier (9), (Nelson, Toews)

Third Period
2:32 TB Palat (7), (Kucherov, Sergachev)(PP)
12:04 TB Johnson (4), (Cernak, Verhaeghe)
16:35 NYI Nelson (8), (Beauvillier, Bailey)
19:24 NYI Pageau (8), (Bailey)(EN)

Mikhail Sergachev was the game's second star.

Despite having Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point out with injury and Alex Killorn out due to suspension and despite brain cramping their way to a two goal Third Period deficit, the Lightning had this game and this series in the palm of their hands and they let the Islanders off the hook. I'm so incredibly frustrated with this one. The Lightning, despite having two rookies in the lineup and missing their Conn Smythe contender Point, had the possession advantage in this game and for the life of me looked like they had the Islanders on the ropes most of the Third Period and were ready to put the Islanders on the canvas for good. They were first on pucks. They were the aggressor on the forecheck. But, my goodness, they let the Islanders off the hook with unforced turnovers and errors all night and you'll never in your life see a more egregious turnover than that hand grenade pass Ryan McDonagh threw poor Barclay Goodrow to hand this game to the Islanders and give them a lifeline in a series it felt like the Lightning were about to take an insurmountable lead in. There's more blame than that to go around. An awfully soft clear attempt by Mitchell Stephens after a fine PK that led to the Islanders' second goal that gets a rookie busted down to the AHL in normal times. A coverage bust between Shattenkirk and McDonagh in a 4-on-4 situation leaving Beauvillier wide open on the Islanders' third goal. Nikita Kucherov target shooting a point shot into a shot blockers shin pads on the empty netter after the Lightning got a good faceoff win and looked setup to make a push for the tying goal. It's just frustrating. You expect a mistake like that from the rookie Stephens, perhaps, but a veteran like McDonagh can't make the kind of bonehead plays he made tonight. Can't happen. And it's not as if it's a hard work beating talent scenario. The Lightning outworked the Islanders tonight. The possession stats show about a 3:2 disparity in shot attempts, but the Lightning just kept gifting the Isles cheap scoring chances on dumb plays.

Man I'm salty. This should be a 3-0 series lead right now. So annoying.

Silver lining: Alex Killorn is coming back next game and if I had to guess there's a pretty sizable chance Brayden Point will be back for Game Five. And, even without those pieces in the lineup, I think tonight really underscored the talent disparity between the two teams. If the Lightning continue to work as hard as they have been and clean up some of the idiocy we witnessed tonight they'll likely have the Isles down on the canvas by this time Sunday night.

Stephens was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:07. Where he did shine, despite his goat horns on the second Isles goal, was in going 82% on 11 draws to spearhead an evening where the team overall hit 58% in the circles. You hate to see all that squandered by brain cramps (talking about the whole team now, not just Stephens).

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.