Islanders survive a two goal deficit and Espo’s Rule to force Game Seven.
Series Tied 3-3
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 28 shots for the OT loss. He didn’t look 100% settled tonight, but there weren’t any goals that were particularly soft. Still, the Lightning needed that one more situational save and he couldn’t get it for them.
16:02 TB Point (14), (Cirelli)
12:36 TB Cirelli (4), (Palat, Point)
14:22 NYI Eberle (4), (Barzal, Greene)
11:16 NYI Mayfield (2), (Barzal, Pelech)
1:08 NYI Beauvillier (5), (unassisted)
I wish I could say I was surprised what happened. I’ve been saying it since Game Four, but now that we’ve reached games with elimination implications it seems clear Trotz has given the green light to his players to take liberties and dare the officials to call anything. Scott Mayfield knocked Nikita Kucherov out of the game with a crosscheck to the ribs/back on the very first shift of the game, uncalled, and the blood bath just escalated from there. Hell, they even spotted the Islanders a free goal when Alex Killorn got hooked out of position on Eberle’s Second Period goal. Mat Barzal has two assists and he arguably shouldn’t have even been playing tonight after cross checking Rutta in the face last game and abuse of an official. He got rewarded for his bad behavior. Scott Mayfield takes out the playoffs’ leading scorer and later cross checks and bloodies Steven Stamkos and he doesn’t get taken off the ice and eventually scores the tying goal on the shot of his miserable lifetime. He got rewarded for his bad behavior. The Islanders, time and time again tonight, got rewarded for bad behavior. It’s farcical. Should the Lightning have done better to protect the goal and not gone so passive? Sure. But it’s hard to keep your energy level up when you’re down a forward and guys are getting absolutely mugged with impunity.
So, we’ll see if Nikita Kucherov and/or Erik Cernak can go for Game Seven on Friday. I see a lot of gloom and doom from Lightning fans as if there’s somehow no way the team can win a Game Seven. For those of you saying that: you’re spoiled. The Lightning haven’t faced an elimination game in the past two playoff seasons while tasting so much success and it isn’t normal. Almost every team has to stare down the adversity of an elimination game at some point to win it all. In 2004 the Lightning had to do it three times. This team wants to be viewed as “special” and win back-to-back titles, and at some point they were going to have to win an elimination game with backs against the wall. It was inevitable. Time to rise to the opportunity.
Ross Colton had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:57. Missed some shifts after getting hurt when Matt Martin pulled the old Scott Stevens routine when he kneed him on the follow through of a hit. Borderline dirty stuff I thought went away in the early 00’s.