The New York Islanders win 5-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This game was a “must-win” for the Islanders. Being down 2-0 in the series going into Game 3, a loss would’ve probably meant that the Islanders season was basically over. Going into the Game the Islanders found out that they’d be without Casey Cizikas. But, the Lighting would be without Brayden Point and Alex Killorn. With those players being out, it just set up some uncertainty for Game 3.
The first period
The game started off pretty quickly out of the gates. That being said, the chances were pretty equal. But, both goalies stayed strong and the game remained scoreless. In Game 3, both Semyon Varlamov and Andrei Vasilevskiy played very well. There was just a lot of solid hockey being played from both sides.
The game remained scoreless until the puck landed on Cal Clutterbuck‘s stick, he roofed it, 1-0 Islanders. This goal came with Vasilevskiy having an equipment problem, but play had to continue and the Islanders scored. The Islanders only held that 1-0 lead for long, because the Lightning struck right back. Mikhail Sergachev scored on the backhand. This came after the Islanders failed to clear the zone multiple times, that’s something they need to work on. The period stayed tied and ended 1-1.
The second period
The game stayed tied first 10 minutes of the second period, chances were pretty even. Hits came here and there and a lot of shots were blocked. The even play came to a halt when Adam Pelech scored, and yes you heard that right Adam Pelech roofed it top corner. Pelech’s first career playoff goal came with much excitement to Bathtub Jake and the Pelech Posse.
That goal was beautifully assisted by Mathew Barzal and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. A minor fight ensued right after the goal between Anders Lee and Cedric Paquette. 2-minute minors were assessed to both parties for roughing. Right after that 4-4 expired Anthony Beauvillier scored from an assist by Brock Nelson to make the score 3-1. Tampa definitely started getting back in the game, but the score remained 3-1.
The third period
Jordan Eberle took a penalty to the start of the third period. Tampa Bay had full possession of the power play. That led to a tic-tac-toe play right into the net to make it 3-2. Ondřej Palát got the goal, assisted by Nikita Kucharov and Mikhail Sergachev. After Tampa got momentum after the goal and it was a matter of time until it was tied. Erik Cernak shot it, Tyler Johnson tipped it past Semyon Varlamov to tie it at 3 for Tampa. They did review this goal to see if it was a high stick, but the call stood.
The Islanders needed something, they’d just blown a 3-1 lead. That something they got was a beautiful goal by Brock Nelson. This gave the Islanders back the lead and the had 3 minutes left to hold it. That they did, and Pageau added an empty netter to make it 5-3.
Without a doubt, this was a massive win for the Islanders. Following a heart-crushing loss in game 2, the Islanders knew what was at stake tonight. This was undoubtedly the most important game in this series so far, and the Islanders came to the task. That being said, tonight’s game ended pretty scrappily.
So, I’d assume that physical play is going to keep increasing. They were finally able to get more than one past Vasilevskiy, he’s been a key player for them. The Islanders got it done tonight with their back’s against the wall. But as good as tonight was, the Islanders still need to stay focused as they attempt to tie the series up on Sunday at 3:00 PM.