To say Brayden Point is on fire would be a massive understatement.
The Lightning's star center scored in his sixth consecutive game and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 on Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum to take a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Semifinals matchup.
It was a pretty even first period for the most part, but it was the Lightning who jumped out in front courtesy of that ever-dangerous third line.
Following some fantastic work to the right of Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov by Lightning winger Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde found the centering feed from Coleman and snapped it past Varlamov to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 6:40.
Ironically enough, after 54 minutes of penalties in Game 2, we didn't see an infraction until Mikhail Sergachev was whistled for roughing at 14:28.
The Lightning killed off the penalty, but the Islanders kept pushing and pushing until they found the equalizer.
After a dump-in that hit the net behind Vasilevskiy, miscommunication from the Tampa Bay defense led to Cal Clutterbuck getting his stick on the puck and shoveling it past the Bolts goalie to tie the score at one apiece.
The Islanders gave the momentum right back to the Lightning, however, when Adam Pelech interfered with Nikita Kucherov just 37 seconds after the Clutterbuck goal.
And Brayden made them pay.
Even though he was getting cross-checked from behind by Casey Cizikas, Point was able to find the puck in the slot and slide it past Varlamov at the 19:40 mark, two seconds after the penalty to Pelech expired, to put the Bolts up 2-1.
The teams battled hard for the final twenty minutes, but neither could find the back of the net. Even with New York pulling Varlamov with two minutes to go, Tampa Bay's defense went it lockdown mode and the Islanders really could not get a good look on net against Vasilevskiy.
Varlamov made 23 saves in defeat.
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Coleman, Cernak) - 6:40
- New York - Clutterbuck - (Martin, Cizikas) - 17:01
- Tampa Bay - Point - (Hedman, Kucherov) - 19:40
- Tampa Bay - Sergachev - (Roughing) - 14:28
- New York - Pelech - (Interference) - 17:38
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning and Islanders square off in Game 4 of this best-of-seven Stanley Cup Semifinals matchup on Saturday night here at the Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is slated for 8:00pm with the pregame show starting at 7:00pm on NewsRadio WFLA.
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