By Leo Haggerty


After four games in the Eastern Conference finals, the series with the Lightning and the Islanders is all knotted up at 2 wins each.  In fact, the teams have been so evenly matched over this span that the goal differential is just a +1 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Below is the recap of Games 1 to 4.  Enjoy.

The Isles took the first game by a 2-1 count at Amalie Arena.  That gave New York a 1-0 series lead with the first team to 4 wins going to the Stanley Cup finals to represent the Eastern Conference.

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Islanders dented the scoreboard first at 12:32 of the middle period.  F Mathew Barzel (4) lit the lamp to give NY a 1-0 advantage.

The Isles extended their margin at 5:36 of the the final period.  D Ryan Pulock (4) maneuvered the disc past Bolts G Andrei Vasilevskiy (29 saves on 31 shots) to make it 2-zip in favor of the visitors.

Tampa Bay cut the lead to 2-1 with 56 seconds left in regulation.  F Brayden Point (9) beat Isles G Semyon Varlamov (30 saves on 31 shots) with the Bolts having the man advantage but that was the only goal the Lightning would record as the Islanders secured the victory.

The Lightning bounced back and defeated the Islanders 4-2 at Amalie Arena.  That tied the series at one game apiece.

Both teams posted markers in the first period.  TB opened the scoring at 8:58 when Point (10) put the biscuit in the basket for a 1-0 lead.

NY tied the game at 1-each at 13:30 of the opening period.  F Brock Nelson (7) slipped the puck behind G Vasilevskiy (24 saves on 26 shots) to convert a power play opportunity.

Tampa Bay retook the lead at 13:15 of the second period.  F Ondrej Palat (3) beat G Varlamov (23 saves on 27 shots) who had returned at the beginning of the middle period to give the Bolts a 2-1 advantage.

#40 had to leave the tilt after a collision with Point with just a little under 7 minutes left in the first period.  He was replaced by G Ilya Sorokin who saved all six shots #30 faced.

The Lightning stretched their lead to 4-1 with two third period goals.  D Jan Rutta (1) notched his first marker of the playoffs at 2:16 and D Victor Hedman (1) scored his initial playoff marker at 9:17 with Tampa Bay on the power play.

The Islanders cut the margin to 4-2 at 16:44 of the final period.  Barzal (5) found the back of the net but it was too little and too late as the series moves to Long Island for the next two contests.

The visiting Lightning held on to defeat the Islanders 2-1 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  That gave the Bolts a 2-1 series advantage.

Tampa Bay scored first at 10:05 of the opening period.  F Yanni Gourde (3) gave the Lightning an early 1-0 lead.

New York put up a score at 17:01 of the middle period.  F Cal Clutterbuck (4) managed to get the disc past G Vasilevskiy (27 saves on 28 shots) to tie the tilt at 1-all.

TB scored what would prove to be the game winner with just 20 seconds left in the second period.  Point (11) put his second score behind G Varlamov (23 saves on 25 shots) to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead.

Both netminders put up goose eggs in the final 20 minutes of play.  That gave the Bolts a much needed road win.

The Islanders scored three second period goals and held on to beat the Lightning 3-2 at the Nassau Coliseum.  That evened the series at two wins each.

After a scoreless opening period, NY exploded for a trifecta in the middle period.  F Josh Bailey (6) opened the scoring at 5:30 of the middle period.  That was followed by a Barzal (6) marker at 13:46 made it 2-0 in favor of the Isles.  F Matt Martin (1) beat G Vasilevskiy (27 saves on 30 shots) and that stretched the lead to 3-zip at 17:57.

The Bolts recorded two early third period goals to make it interesting.  Point (12) cut the lead to 3-1 at 3:45 and F Tyler Johnson (2) cut the New York lead to 3-2 when he deposited the puck over the shoulder of G Varlamov (28 saves on 30 shots) at 6:43.

The game came down to the final seconds.  With the Lightning having Hedman in the penalty box and #88 pulled for the extra attacker, Tampa Bay F Nikita Kucherov found D Ryan McDonagh in front of the net.  #27, after spinning to avoid a defensemen and the goalie, maneuvered into the crease for a game tying backhander to a wide open net.  He was denied by Pulock who dove in front of the net to secure the victory.

Now, it’s a best of three series as the series heads back to Amalie Arena for Game 5.  Meet you at the TV to see how that plays out.