The Tampa Bay Lightning evened their series with the New York Islanders at one game apiece after an impressive 4-2 win in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point starred for the Lightning who finally snapped the Islanders’ four-game winning streak in the postseason.
Kucherov and Point lead the way for the Lightning
Nikita Kucherov led the way for Tampa Bay, recording three assists in Game 2, his fourth game with at least three points this postseason. He assisted on goals by Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman as the Lightning improved to 12-0 in games following a playoff defeat since the start of their title run last year. The Lightning have not lost back-to-back games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2019 Eastern Conference First Round.
Tampa Bay played with a sense of urgency in Game 2 as the Lightning trailed in a playoff series for the first time since dropping Game 1 of last year’s Stanley Cup final against the Dallas Stars. Point opened the scoring for Tampa Bay when he roofed Kucherov’s pass at 8:58 of the first period after a crucial turnover by New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech.
It was Point’s 10th goal of the playoffs, which leads the NHL. Point has now scored a goal in each of his last five games, stretching his league-leading playoff total to 10 goals. With their connection on Tuesday, Kucherov has now assisted on 20 of Point’s 32 playoff goals (62.5 percent). That’s the second-highest percentage in the history of the NHL for players with at least 25 goals.
New York fought back, however, and equalized with a power play goal at the 13:30 mark of the first period. Brock Nelson scored and tied it at 1-1 following a giveaway by Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Ondrej Palat gave the Lightning the lead back at 13:15 of the second period. Victor Hedman delivered a stretch pass to Kucherov, who drew two defenders in the left face-off circle before finding Palat who scored with a fine finish for his first goal in nine games. It was a controversial goal, though, as replays showed Palat scored with Tampa Bay having too many men on the ice.
Vasilevskiy and Tampa Bay’s defensemen seal the win
Andrei Vasilevskiy, who finished the game with 24 saves, kept Tampa Bay in front with a stunning left-pad save on Anthony Beauvillier’s shot attempt from point-blank range with seven seconds remaining in the second period. That proved to be crucial as the Lightning took complete control in the final period.
Jan Rutta made it 3-1 with a shot from the right point at 2:16 of the third period. It was the first goal scored by a Tampa Bay defenseman in this year’s playoffs. Hedman quickly followed suit, with the defenseman scoring at 9:17 on the power play to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead.
Mathew Barzal scored a consolation goal with 3:16 remaining in the match for the final score of 4-2. Barzal has been on fire lately, scoring five goals in his last six games for the Islanders.
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