LIGHTNING RECAP – JUNE 28
By Leo Haggerty

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – GAMES 5 THROUGH 7

In an extremely competitive and exciting series, the New York Islanders took the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Game 7 for the first time in two years.  The Bolts were up to the task as they defeated the Isles 4-3 to move on to the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadians.

Below is a recap of Games 5 through 7.  Enjoy.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS 0  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 8
In the most uncharacteristic game of the series, the Lightning blew out the Islanders by a score of 8-0 at Amalie Arena.  That gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with the winner moving on the play for the Stanley Cup.

It took the Bolts a grand total of 45 seconds to get on the scoreboard.  F Steven Stamkos (6) found the back of the net to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay scored two more markers before the end of the first period.  F Yanni Gourde (4) at 11:04 and F Alex Killorn (7) at 15:27 ended the evening for Isles G Semyon Varlamov (13 saves on 16 shots) and gave the Bolts a 3-0 advantage at the first intermission.

The Lightning put up another three-spot on the scoreboard in the middle period to increase their margin to 6-nothing.  Stamkos (7) blistered the puck past New York replacement G Ilya Sorokin (21 saves on 26 shots) with the Bolts on a power play at 5:42 and the rout was on.  F Ondrej Palat (4) at 15:43 was followed by Killorn (8) at 17:53 with Tampa Bay having the man advantage.

The Lightning finished the scoring with two third period counters that made the final count 8-0.  F Brayden Point (13) put the biscuit in the basket for the Bolts third power play goal of the contest at 1:59.  The final goal was scored by D Luke Schenn (1) at 12:05 and, with Tampa Bay G Andrei Vasilevskiy (21 saves) pitching a shoutout, the Bolts moved within a game of clinching the series when Game 6 moves to Long Island.

 

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 2  NEW YORK ISLANDERS 3 OT

With the Islanders facing elimination for the second straight year by the Lightning, New York came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Tampa Bay 3-2 in overtime at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. That evened the series at 3 games apiece.

The Bolts scored first at 16:02 of the opening period.  Point (14) lit the lamp to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

The Lightning padded their lead at 12:36 of the middle period.  F Anthony Cirilli (4) slid the puck behind G Varlamov (22 saves on 24 shots) and that was the Bolts 11th consecutive goal stretching over a three-game span

The streak was stopped at 14:22 of the second period.  F Jordan Eberle (4) slid the puck past G Vasilevskiy (25 saves on 28 shots) to cut the Bolts lead in half to 2-1.

The Islanders came all the way back at 11:16 of the final period.  D Scott Mayfield (2) scored to tie the game at two apiece and send the tilt to extra hockey.

It didn’t take New York long to finish off a tired Tampa Bay squad.  With both F Nikita Kucherov and F Russ Colton both out with in-game injuries, the Lightning were simply out of gas when F Anthony Beauvillier (5) put the biscuit in the basket to send the series back to Tampa Bay for a deciding Game 7.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS 0  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 1

In a game that was as close as its score indicates, Tampa Bay defeated New York 1-0 at Amalie Arena.  That secured the Lightning a spot in their second consecutive Stanley Cup finals.

The story of the evening was the goaltenders.  Both Vasilevskiy (18 saves on 18 shots) and Varlamov (30 saves on 31 shots) were spectacular with #88 being just a touch better.

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Lightning scored what was to be the only goal of the evening.  With the Islanders on the power play, F Yanni Gourde (5) netted a shorthanded goal to put Tampa Bay up 1-0 and that’s all the Bolts would need.

Now, it’s off to the play for Lord Stanley’s Cup for a second consecutive year.  This year the opponent is the Montreal Canadians.

Meet you at the TV to see if Tampa Bay can, as Coach Cooper has stated, “do something special” and win back-to-back championships.