Unfocused Lightning gift Islanders Game One.
New York Leads the Series 1-0
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed two goals on 31 shots for the loss. Generally, he played a decent game, but the second Islanders goal was soft and soft goals nearly always become the margin in a competitive hockey game. That’s a goal he simply could not allow in that situation and it pretty much knee capped the team’s ability to overcome a game where they were clearly struggling a bit in front of him.
12:32 NYI Barzal (4), (Bailey)
5:36 NYI Pulock (4), (Eberle)
19:06 TB Point (9), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)
Brayden Point was the game’s third star.
For whatever reason, the Lightning simply didn’t look as sharp or as ready to go for this game as they should’ve been. I saw a lot of hope passes, area passes, one armed passes, and generally unengaged plays, mentally, that are the hallmark of a team that isn’t completely on the ball. That’s not to say the effort wasn’t there athletically. It was. But when you play a Barry Trotz team the attention to detail has to be on point and it simply wasn’t today. The puck management was borderline atrocious at times and eventually the team got burned. You cannot get away with time and time again coughing up the puck within 5 feet of either blueline and get away with it. Stamkos wore the goat horns on the Barzal goal for that mistake, but he was far from the only sinner in that lineup today. Others included Mikhail Sergachev, who rebounded under less physical pressure in the Carolina series, but had a poor game again today a la the Florida series. I am 100% unsurprised the Islanders coaching staff made it a point of targeting him after reviewing the tape of the Panthers series. I am 100% surprised Sergachev was seemingly less prepared for the targeting.
Is it panic time? No. I think the Lightning generally controlled possession when they weren’t shooting themselves in the feet with their poor puck management. They actually won the xG battle today, albeit not at 5v5. And, they were as patient as they needed to be to deal with the Islanders. But there’s a fine line between being patient and being too passive, and I think at times they were on the wrong side of that line today.
Ross Colton had 1 shot and 4 hits in 8:59.