After getting some great chances on an early power play, the Lightning opened the scoring about half way through the first period when the Islanders couldn’t get the puck out of their own zone and eventually it got out front to Brayden Point, who roofed it over Semyon Varlamov.
A key moment would come a few minutes later, as Point collided with Varlamov as he was heading to the net. Though I wasn’t sure Point should have gotten a penalty for it because it looked like he was pushed and didn’t really have a good chance to stop, the Islanders went to the power play. Semyon Varlamov also briefly left the game for the remainder of the period, but would later return. The Islanders then tied the game on the ensuing power play, with Ryan McDonagh deflecting a pass right to Brock Nelson, who beat Vasilevskiy from in close.
The second period didn’t see nearly as many quality chances exchanged, with fewer power play opportunities for both teams. After a relatively even frame, Ondrej Palat would give the Lightning a 2-1 lead, after Nikita Kucherov made a great play to delay with the puck and avoid opponents, to feed Palat in a great spot. The catch on this was that Tampa Bay blatantly had six players on the ice at the time of the goal, but the referees didn’t catch it, so the Lightning took a lead into the third period.
The Lightning extended their lead early in the third period, as what probably should’ve been a fairly harmless shot from the point beat Varlamov, who was screened by Josh Bailey. The events leading to the goal were frustratingly similar to those that led to Tampa Bay’s first goal, as Adam Pelech rimmed the puck around the boards and Anthony Beauvillier wasn’t able to chip the puck out of the defensive zone.
Then a little later, Kucherov made a great pass across the zone on a power play to find Victor Hedman, who beat Varlamov to give the Lightning a 4-1 lead. The Islanders did build a bit of momentum late in the game and were able to prevent any more chances for the Lightning from about the midway mark of the third period, but it was too late. Mathew Barzal would cut the lead to 4-2 with a little over three minutes to play but the Lightning would hang on for a Game 2 win. The game ended with a big scrum, which will likely set the tone for the rest of the series.
Some quick notes: The Islanders weren’t able to contain the Lightning the same way they did in Game 1 and Tampa Bay used their speed to create more quality chances. Despite scoring their first goal on the power play, New York really didn’t get much going with their other power play opportunities, and spent too much time working the puck around the outside, rather than getting shots with traffic in front. I'm also not someone who usually gets into talking about the officiating but there were some pretty noticeable blown calls throughout the game and it's unfortunate to see that happening at this stage in the postseason.
The Islanders will now have the opportunity to take advantage of playing on home ice for Games 3 and 4.
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How largely do you feel Game 2 was impacted by the officiating?