The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay square off in Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum. New York will be facing elimination for the first time in the 2021 playoffs. After an embarrassing 8-0 defeat in Tampa Bay, the Islanders will need their best effort to force a Game 7. Semyon Varlamov was pulled after allowing three goals in the first twenty minutes of Game 5. However, Ilya Sorokin allowed five more for a total of eight between the two goaltenders. But, the goaltenders were not the issue in the defeat. The Islanders played terribly and with little effort. Tampa Bay showed New York why they are the team to beat. Mathew Barzal avoided being suspended after cross-checking Jan Rutta. Instead, Barzal was handed a $5,000 fine. The Islanders will look to force Game 7, otherwise, their season is over, along with the Islanders playing at Nassau Coliseum.
Right out of the gate, the Islanders showed a better effort than game 5. The crowd showed enthusiasm as well. Two minutes in, Nikita Kucherov went to the dressing room after he appeared to be hurt from missing a check on Barzal and hitting the boards. Halfway through the period, there were only four shots. New York had two and Tampa Bay had two. At 3:58 of the period, Brayden Point would score a goal to extend his playoff goal streak to 9 straight games. Tampa Bay would take a 1-0 lead on their fifth shot of the period. Despite an obvious better effort from the Islanders, they would still find themselves down after one period. The period would end with six shots apiece.
To start the second period, Kucherov would still be absent from the bench. The Islanders would come out with the same urgency as the first period. They would fire four shots in the opening four minutes on Andrei Vasilevskiy, with none breaking through. Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck would earn a roughing penalty against Tyler Johnson. After allowing three powerplay goals in game 5, New York’s penalty kill would need to come up big. However, a minute into the powerplay, Victor Hedman would trip Casey Cizikas to make it a 4 on 4. Moreover, the play would turn into a 4 on 3 for 16 seconds and then a minute 5 on 3 after Mikhail Sergachev interfered with Barzal. Subsequently, the Islanders would not be able to capitalize. On their 11th shot, Anthony Cirelli would double the Lightning’s lead with 8 minutes remaining in the second. However, Jordan Eberle would get one back on the Islanders’ 17th shot.
The final frame began with 4 on 4 actions. Nothing ensued and the action went back to 5 on 5. New York would also fail to capitalize on a power-play chance. Furthermore, the Islanders continued to press, but only had half of the period left to keep their season alive. Finally, the Islanders would tie the game! Scott Mayfield would snipe one past Vasilevskiy to tie it with 8:44 remaining in the game. With six minutes remaining, Matt Martin would head to the penalty box for high-sticking. The Islanders would be able to kill off the penalty. Regulation would end with the Islanders leading in shots 27-24 and the game tied at 2 apiece.
New York was able to come back from 2-0 to force overtime. One shot can force a Game 7 and one shot can end the Islanders season. Islander fans would not have to wait long. Anthony Beauvillier would steal the puck in the offensive zone and snipe one past Vasilevskiy to force a Game 7. Just 1:08 seconds in and Nassau Coliseum would erupt. The game would end with the Islanders winning 3-2!
The Islanders were able to force a Game 7! New York avoided elimination with their defeat over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 7 will be in Tampa Bay on Friday at 8:00 PM EST. Moreover, New York will have to bring their best effort to the playoffs. The last time at Amalie Arena, New York suffered their embarrassing 8-0 defeat. However, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals will require one more win against the defending champs. New York will need to be up for the challenge!