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Lightning Round: A Saturday loss puts Tampa Bay in unusual situation

“Sometimes you lay an egg and we laid one in the second period.”

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders - Game Four Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

Last night the New York Islanders tied the semifinal series after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum. A sloppy performance in the second period, where the Lightning allowed three goals, cost them victory in this game. The Bolts attempted the comeback later in the third period, but fell one goal short from sending the game into overtime [Raw Charge]

The goaltender was down. The puck was headed into the net with seconds to spare. Then a blue-clad skater slid in and deflected it wide as the horn sounded. Ryan McDonagh’s last-second spinning shot was kept out of the net not by goaltender Semyon Varlamov, but by defender Ryan Pulock as the New York Islanders held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game Four of their semifinal series.

This is not a new situation for the Islanders this postseason. During previous series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins, the team survived twice after being down 2-1 in the series. Both times the Isles won three consecutive games after losing in Game 3 to eventually clinch the series. This time they’re obviously hoping to repeat this scenario, however they haven’t faced as strong a team as the Lightning this year. Tampa Bay have yet to lost two straight games in playoffs since the start of the 2020 NHL Playoffs, which shows that the Lightning’s coaching staff have been managing to make adjustments during the course of the playoffs.

The Lightning also haven’t been in such a complicated situation since the start of last year’s postseason. The Islanders seem so far the toughest opponent they faced in two years as the Lightning haven’t been tied after four games, leading 3-1 in all six previous series. Barry Trotz and his team clearly learned from mistakes during last playoffs’ third-round series and so far managed to neutralize the Lightning’s power play unit and their top line much better than the Carolina Hurricanes or the Florida Panthers. The Lightning however still is the more experienced team and have enough talent to turn the series in their favour.

The Lightning’s head coach Jon Cooper wasn’t pleased with the Lightning’s second period performance, saying that this doesn’t happen often to them [NHL.com]

“That doesn’t happen to us too often,” Cooper said. “It was red rotten that second period. These guys have given it their all for whatever it’s been now, a month and change. Sometimes you lay an egg and we laid one in the second period. It was unfortunate because, you don’t play well sometimes the breaks don’t go your way. We turn one over on the first one. Second one, Pointer loses his stick, which that was really unfortunate or that one probably doesn’t go in. And then we just turned it over way too many times on the third one. You realize how precious every period is and every shift is. It’s one of those, if you do bend, you can’t break, and that second period we broke.”

Cooper also mentioned the Isles’ third goal, which they initially thought was an offside and admitted that he and his staff didn’t have enough replay angles available. It was the first time the Lightning have lost the offside challenge this year [NHL.com]

“There were a couple problems,” Cooper said. “First of all, the hawkeye went out on the bench. So we have zero chance for us to look at it. The other thing is you’re getting your feeds from the network. And so they’re sitting there showing, they’re in the entertainment business. They’re not showing all the angles that need to be shown. So we’re now relying on limited intel and if you really look at the play, your gut and everything is telling you it’s offside. And then once the challenge is made, like way after the fact, we get into the room and then they finally show an angle at the end which took them forever to show, we saw that Bailey or whoever had the puck, he pulled it on just by a fraction of an inch and then off. So from our vantage point, even on the angles we had on the bench, everything looked offside. And that’s the unfortunate part is we didn’t get all the angles and so that can be a little bit frustrating because we had to go a little bit on gut on what shouldn’t ever have to be a gut call. It’s a black and white call.”

Tampa Bay Lightning 2, New York Islanders 3 — series tied 2-2

Lightning Links

Brayden Point scored in his seventh consecutive game to tie for the second longest goal streak in the NHL history. He also passed Martin St. Louis for the third-most postseason goals in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s history

Today’s Games

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