Chillin’ With AC – JUNE 24
By Andrew Cioffi

A BOLTS BLAST

The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders are headed to Game 7 as the Islanders defeated the Bolts 3-2 in an overtime thriller last night. This has been a very physical and hard fought series and I am not surprised we will see a Game 7 on Friday at Amalie Arena. Most did not predict that this series would reach Game 7 especially since the Lightning embarrassed the Islanders with an 8-0 whitewashing in Game 5. After seeing that massacre, I was sure that the Lightning would move onto the Stanley Cup. Well, the Islanders had different plans…

The first period started off as a back and forth battle with no goals scored. The overall play was even until Braden Point scored for the 9th straight game to put the Bolts up 1-0. The loud Islanders crowed was silenced. The beginning of the second period looked much like the first with chances for both teams. Then, at about the midway point, Anthony Cirelli was sent in a break away by Palat and he scored through the 5 hole on Varlamov. This was the Lightnings 12th straight goal in the series and things seemed to be over for the Islanders. Unfortunately, 2-0 is one of the worst leads in hockey. The Islanders did not shy away as Jordan Eberle scored at 14:32 in the period to make it 2-1 going into the third.

In the third period, the Islanders were firing on all cylinders, trying to tie the game up. At the halfway point, they did just that as Matt Barzal set up Mayfield for a sweet top shelf short side goal to tie the game. The crowed went absolutely nuts and the Islanders clearly had the momentum heading into overtime. The Islanders started off overtime all over the Lightning and the result was a quick ending. After a turnover by Lightning forward Blake Coleman in the defensive zone, Islanders Anthony Beauvillier won it with a wrist shot a little over a minute into overtime.

This loss will definitely sting for the Lightning, but coming back to home, I believe they will be locked and loaded for Game 7. Brayden Point would agree as well that they will be ready for Game 7 saying, “We’ve got a veteran leadership group in there that keeps our head level. I don’t know if a lot of guys have played a lot of game 7s, but we’re just going to try to take it as one game. It’s do or die for both teams and it’s going to be an intense one.”

I could not agree more with Point. These players are on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup and most of them would die for the opportunity. This Game 7 in the NHL Semi-final is going to be the best game of the year. I believe that whoever wins this series is going to go on to win the Stanley Cup, as I feel that both are much stronger than the other 2 teams. As far as this series go, I believe with the Lightning coming home, they will win Game 7 and head back to the Stanley Cup.