With the Game Six overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in somewhat uncharted waters - potential elimination. The last time the Lightning faced a lose-and-go-golfing game was way back in April of 2019 when a 7-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets ended the 2018-19 season rather abruptly.
For the past two postseasons we as fans have been spared the anguish of having to watch an elimination game with negative implications. That all ends on Friday. The Islanders, like robo-spam calls, just won’t go away. While they haven’t crowned themselves in glory this series, they have taken advantage of multiple Lightning turnovers to hang around and push Tampa Bay to the limit.
A positive note we should cling to is that every time the Bolts have been pushed over the last two postseasons, they’ve responded with solid efforts. This isn’t the same team, despite having many of the same players, that struggled in Eastern Conference Finals against Washington and Pittsburgh. These players know what they have to do on Friday to pull out the win, and there is every indication that they will produce their best effort at home in front of what should be a wild Amalie Arena crowd.
So far in this series their two best efforts on the ice have come following losses. Even without Nikita Kucherov, god forbid, expect this team to come out fast and confident. The Islanders had nothing to lose last night and had to put forth almost a perfect game in order to pull out a narrow overtime victory. The same can be said for their previous two wins in the series as well. If the Bolts can do what they did in Games Two and Four, eliminate the self-inflicted turnovers, the Islanders will struggle to generate their own offense.
Most predictions had this series going seven games, and here we are. So take a deep breath, try not to dwell on Wednesday’s loss, and enjoy the fact that the Lightning are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup.
One shift into the game and the storm clouds were already looming as Nikita Kucherov took a hit from Adam Pelech that forced him out of the remainder of the game. The Islanders then clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime where Anthony Beuvillier was gifted an opportunity and didn’t miss.
The Islanders recap. Good for them, if that’s the last game played in Nassau Coliseum, it was a doozy.
“We’ve gone down this path before.” Coach Cooper spun a little positive in his press interview following the loss. The “path” was playing without Kucherov of whom he had no update.
There was no real sense of panic among the two cornerstones of the franchise following the loss. “They didn’t think it was malicious”. It being the crosscheck on Kuch. So it was a crosscheck, just not a mean one. Carry on.
Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens, 8:00 pm EST, USA, CBC, TVAS, SN
Montreal leads 3-2
The Canadiens have a chance to pull off another upset on home ice. Vegas will be doing everything they can to prevent an early deficit as they cling to their playoff lives.
We’ll keep this short and sweet and leave on a good note.
Brayden. Freakin’. Point.
The tenacity of a badger and the hands of a street magician.