The Islanders’ amazing season came to an end last night as they fall 2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals. The New York Islanders magic ran out after an amazing six weeks. The Islanders played amazing defense, but an ineffective powerplay and costly penalties costed the Isles in the end.
The bad news for the Islanders came even before the puck dropped when it was announced defenseman Adam Pelech would miss game six after suffering a broken wrist during game five (the injury was unknown until following the game.) The Islanders would also find out that Lighting star Brayden Point would be back in the lineup after missing game five. With the Islanders missing their best defenseman and the Lightning getting one of their stars back, the Islanders had quite the challenge ahead of them.
The first period saw action right from the drop of the puck. Back and forth hockey from both teams told the story in the first seven minutes of the contest. Just over four minutes into the start of the game. Devon Toews would score the Islander’s only goal of the evening. Anders Lee found Toews shooting towards the net. Toews wrapped around the cage and stuffed it home to give the Islanders an early one-goal lead. The Lightning wasted no time answering the Islanders. Just over two minutes later, Erik Cernak threw a puck at the net. Varlamov coughed up a big rebound that Victor Hedman would gather and launch into the back of the goal to tie the game at one. The period would end with the same score.
Second and Third Period
The Second and Third Periods didn’t see any scoring, but it did see a lot of close chances. The main story of the game, the series, and much of the playoffs was Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov came up with save after save last night and gave the Islanders the goaltending they haven’t had in over two decades. However, with just under a minute to go in the period, Islanders Defenseman Andy Greene would be charged with a high sticking double minor after a high stick on Nikita Kucherov drew blood. For the second straight game, the Islanders would be going to overtime. And for the second straight game, they would need to kill off a double minor.
The Islanders best chance of overtime came on a breakaway short-handed. Brock Nelson stole the puck and went in alone on Lightning Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, but his shot hit Vasilevskiy on the shoulder and the puck stayed out of the net. The Islanders would get a powerplay of their own after killing off the Lightning four-minute power play but were unable to convert. Just over 13 minutes into overtime, the Islanders season would end. Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow gained the puck behind the net. Goodrow found Anthony Cirelli in front of the net who put the puck off the post, off Varlamov, and into the net giving the Lighting the 2-1 win, and sending them to the Stanley Cup Finals.
What a season it was for the Islanders. Although they were unable to make it to the Stanley Cup Final, they played amazing all postseason long. I, along with many others cannot wait to see the Islanders back on the ice very soon.