The Islanders started the game more intensely, but that didn’t last long as the Bolts quickly moved the game to the opposite side of the rink. In the first five minutes, the Lightning showed very good positional play. They were controlling the puck sitting deep in the Islanders defensive zone. However, they still didn’t create a lot of dangerous chances.
One of the more questionable episodes of the first period happened when Brayden Point was dropped in front of the net by Scott Mayfield. The referee didn’t call a penalty there and Point just frustratedly laughed at him.
As the game continued, the Isles managed to push the game back from their net a little bit. They created a couple of chances in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s net. ost of them came after small mistakes by the Lightning players, for example when Sergachev was making a pass from behind of the net and an Isles players was first on the puck. The Lightning also challenged Semyon Varlamov, but he was solid.
At the end of the period, Mathew Barzal appeared to open the scoring, but his goal was fairly called off as the play was offside. The first period ended scoreless.
Can’t imagine a better start of the second period for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov picked up the puck at the Lightning blue line and made a brilliant pass to Brayden Point, while turning around. Point didn’t waste the chance and fired the puck past Varlamov.
During the last five minutes of the period, the game have sharpened. It seemed like both teams forgot that the neutral zone exists and were constantly creating chances at both ends. It started when Barzal ran in on a breakaway toward the Lightning net, but Anthony Cirelli stopped him on his way, stealing the puck. After that moment, the Bolts put some pressure on Varlamov’s net, but the Islanders survived and Brock Nelson hit the post in the next attack. The Lightning missed another good opportunity when Hedman blasted the puck into the boards behind the Islanders net and Carter Verhaeghe was close to direct it past Varlamov, but the puck deflected away.
The Lightning got the first power play opportunity of the game with 1:18 left in the second period when Ryan Pulock send the puck over the glass. The Bolts had at least three good chances before the period ended, but still went scoreless.
The recent struggles on the power play continued in this game too as the Lightning couldn’t convert the PP that started at the end of the second period. Shortly after the power play ended, Alex Killorn and Scott Mayfield were sent to the penalty box for holding and embellishment respectively and the teams went 4-on-4. Both sides exchanged some dangerous shots during those two minutes, but the score remained the same.
Later in the game, the Islanders overlooked Verhaeghe, he skated from the corner to the front of the net and beat Varlamov with a backhander. Yanni Gourde and Mitchell Stephens were listed with assists on that goal.
The Islanders answered six minutes later after getting their first power play in the game. Josh Bailey found Derick Brassard in front of the net and Brassard threw the puck over Andrei Vasilevskiy.
After that goal, the Isles continued pushing on the Lightning net. They pulled the goalie with two minutes left in the final period but still failed to tie the game. Eventually, Steven Stamkos broke their hopes, scoring an empty netter and the Lightning defeated the Islanders 3-1.
As the chart above illustrates, the game was very tight. The Lightning had a better first period, leading the Isles in expected goals and shot attempts. They slowed down after scoring an early goal in the second period and let the Islanders control the puck but they still couldn’t make anything of it. The last period also finished with the Lightning leading in expected goals and shots, despite the Isles attempts to push at the end of the game.
During their previous meeting, the Lightning dominated the Islanders but still lost, mostly due to the poor goaltending. This time, they didn’t dominate but earned both points in this game. Andrei Vasilevskiy continued his point streak. However, he didn’t have much of a workload tonight.
The Lightning extended their point streak to eight games and their winning streak to six games. The top line remains the hottest line. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos have recorded points in the last 10 games, while Brayden Point extended his point streak to six games.
Brayden Point (Nikita Kucherov) 1-0
Carter Verhaeghe (Yanni Gourde, Mitchell Stephens) 2-0
Derick Brassard (Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier) 2-1
Steven Stamkos (Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov) 3-1