The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning head to Nassau Coliseum for game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinals. The Lightning knotted the series at 1 on Tuesday in Tampa Bay with a 4-2 victory. Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz mentioned that he will be sticking with the same lineup as the previous two games. Meaning, Semyon Varlamov will be in the net after briefly leaving the game due to a collision. Ilya Sorokin stopped all six shots he faced within the seven minutes of playing time he gathered. Andrei Vasilevskiy will remain in goal for the lightning after stopping 24 of 26 shots faced in game 2. A lead in the series is up for grabs for both teams!
The beginning pace of the period was energy-filled and fast. The Long Island crowd was loud and singing. Five minutes into the game, the Islanders shot four pucks at Vasilevksy while Tampa Bay countered with two. At the 13:00 mark, Kyle Palmieri had a grade-A scoring chance but was shut down by the Tampa goaltender. However, the Lightning would strike first at 9:58. Blake Coleman would chop the puck at the net and Yanni Gourde would bury the rebound to take a 1-0 lead. After taking the lead, Tampa Bay would begin to tilt the ice. The Islanders would end the period with 7 shots and the Lightning would have 11.
New York would try and push to tie the game, but would not be able to generate much. Halfway through the second period, the Lightning would have seven shots, and the Islanders would have six. As the period went on, New York would get more dangerous chances that would be completely shut down by Vasilevsky. Moreover, The Islanders would continue to dig and fight for the equalizer but would continue to be stopped. However, Mikhail Sergachev would earn the first penalty of the game. New York would get their first power play after a roughing penalty. But, the Lightning would kill off the penalty after only one shot on the Islanders’ power play. Finally, the Islanders would breakthrough. On their 20th shot, Cal Clutterbuck would stuff one home to tie the game. On the other hand, Adam Pelech would take an interference penalty with 2:22 remaining in the period. Seconds after the power play, Brayden Point would score to give Tampa the lead again.
The shots were even at 20 apiece three minutes into the third period. As the play went on, the Islanders would again look for an equalizer. New York would control the game and lead in shots for the third period. However, many of the chances would be one and done or an easy save for Vasilevskiy. Furthermore, Tampa Bay would block numerous shot attempts to sustain the lead. With a minute and thirty seconds, Varlamov would head to the bench for the extra skater. However, the Islanders would not be able to tie it up and would lose game 2 by a score of 2-1. The Lightning would end the game with 25 shots while the Islanders had 29.
The Islanders and Lightning are incredibly even in their play through three games. However, the defending champs would find a way to hold the lead and take a 2-1 series lead. On the other hand, the Islanders found themselves in the exact same position in their previous two series. New York would be down 2-1 and then find a way to win in game 6 against the Penguins and Bruins. The biggest key to the Islanders’ success will be figuring out Vasilevskiy and capitalizing on chances. Game 4 will be on Saturday in Long Island!