The New York Islanders were eliminated from the playoffs last night, losing 2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.
We got news before the game that Adam Pelech was unfit to play and Noah Dobson would be taking a spot in the lineup. I found it pretty strange to put Dobson in for his first NHL playoff game in a must-win scenario, especially when New York already had six defensemen playing, but oh well.
The Islanders opened the scoring early in the period, when Devon Toews snuck down towards the net, where he got a pass from Anders Lee, then circled the net and tucked in a wraparound. Just two minutes later, however, the Lightning tied it, when Victor Hedman put a rebound by Semyon Varlamov, when Varlamov couldn’t control the initial point shot. Despite Tampa Bay outshooting the Islanders by a ridiculous 17-6 margin, the score was tied after the first period.
Over the second and third periods, the Lightning would outshoot the Islanders 25-15 (for a 42-21 total in regulation) but couldn’t solve Varlamov. The Islanders woke up about halfway through the second period and made it a much tighter game after that, but at one point, the shots were 24-6 for the Lightning. Varlamov was dialed in though and did what he needed to, in order to keep the game tied.
For the second game in a row, we were at 1-1 heading into overtime (oddly enough, with a double-minor high-sticking penalty carrying over for the Islanders). They would kill it off and Brock Nelson even got a shorthanded breakaway but was denied by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Then, with just under seven minutes to go in overtime, Anthony Cirelli would win it for the Lightning, after Barclay Goodrow fed him with a pass right at the edge of the crease and he put it off the post and in.
Despite the loss, this was a great run for the Islanders. They were six wins away from a Stanley Cup and they made it deeper than many expected. I’ll do an article tomorrow with some notes from the playoff run as a whole, but this was certainly a successful playoffs for the Islanders.
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