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

Mine eyes have seen the glory...


Tampa Bay Leads the Series 2-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. Timely saves upon timely situational saves in a tight 1-1 contest giving his undermanned team the time to manufacture an amazing victory.

First Period
1:24 NYI Martin (5), (Leddy)
18:25 TB Hedman (7), (Goodrow)

Second Period

Third Period
19:51 TB Kucherov (6), (McDonagh)

Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Well, it was mostly the worst of times. The Lightning, who iced eleven forwards and seven defensemen in the game, lost Alex Killorn to a match penalty boarding major and then later lost Brayden Point to injury putting them down to nine forwards a large part of the game. They had to kill the major penalty in the First Period. They had to kill a 5-on-3 in the Third Period. By all rights, with the adversity thrown in their path, the Lightning had every excuse to pack this one in and move along to Friday night. But, they manufactured a tying goal off a faceoff win in the First Period and, despite their overall manpower disadvantage and heavy legs, they outworked the Islanders for large swaths of the Second and Third Period. You'll never hear this on NBCSN, which has now moved on from acting like North Korean state TV in their Bruins boosterism to being the foremost source for fair and balanced coverage of Matthew Barzal's eminent greatness and generally legendary awesomeness (they're super-objective like that), but the Lightning's expected goals at both 5v5 and in all situations actually was better than the Islanders tonight. That's despite having to kill the major and the 5-on-3. The Lightning didn't luck their way into this win. They earned it. They outplayed the Islanders against all odds.

And, speaking of NBCSN, who in their postgame had the gall to call Nikita Kucherov invisible in this game? Oh my goodness. These people spent the entire game slathering praise on Matthew Barzal like he was the second coming of Jesus Christ himself. Matt Barzal: expected goals for was .28 and expected goals against was .76 (net -.48). Nikita Kucherov: expected goals for was .95 and expected goals against was .48 (net +.47). But please, proceed to tell us all how Nikita Kucherov is a bum and Matthew Barzal can both walk on water and turn it into wine. Clown shoes. Shark jumping clown shoes. Any northern market team that did what the Lightning did tonight would've been lauded for having the heart of a lion and the soul of the champion. The Lightning? "Well Jonesy, let's slag on the guy who scored the game winning goal and then talk about how Brayden Point's injury portends doom for the team despite their 2-0 series lead." It's so ridiculously bad. So unbelievably, ridiculously bad. It's infuriating.

So, get well soon Brayden Point, because if he can bounce back quickly the Lightning look ready to make this a short series because, as well as the table was set for the Islanders in every way in this one, if they couldn't pull off this win they may not have a win in them.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.