The Tampa Bay Lightning entered a hostile arena last night and played the style of hockey we have seen the Lightning play in this post-season on the road.
The Lightning got an early lead, then played great defensive hockey the rest of the way as the Lightning won another road playoff game 2-1 to take a two games to one series lead.
Yanni Gourde got the Lightning on the board halfway through the first period to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders tied it in the second on a goal by Cal Clutterbuck at the 17 minute mark. But the game would not be tied for long as Braydon Point scored his 11th goal of the playoffs to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead, a lead the Lightning would not give up the rest of the way.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall in goal once again as he stopped 27 of the 28 Islander shots.
This was a game the Lightning needed to win and they were able to do that by scoring early, playing good five on five hockey, and playing shut down defense.
With Eric Cernak and Jan Rutta on the bench after getting nicked up, Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh played the bulk of the last four minutes as the Islanders pulled their goalie .
Any team wanting to learn how to close out a game should watch the last four minutes of the game from Thursday night.
The Lightning put on a clinic in shutting down the Islanders offensive attack.
The Islanders had their chances, but Andrei Vasilevskiy was there to turn away the pucks and ensure victory for the good guys.
Steven Stamkos talked about the buy in that this team is getting from everyone up and down the roster. “It’s everyone buying into the system. We know what our job is. We know what we have to do. We’ve done it time and time again. This group is comfortable in these situations. The conference final, the semifinals, whatever you call this, this time of year, it’s guys doing whatever it takes to win. When you have complete buy-in, you know you get the results we’re getting right now.”
The Lightning will now look to take an insurmountable 3-1 series lead on Saturday night.
The Lightning are playing with all the confidence in the world. They are not content that they won the Stanley Cup last year. They are wanting more as evidenced by the way they played Thursday night.
It’s not being content,” Cooper said. “Don’t take for granted we win the Stanley Cup. But do you want to be special? And I think if you can go back-to-back, now you’ve got a special. That’s where you dig inside and say, ‘Hey, you don’t get these chances that often. Let’s seize it.’”
Some quick facts about this Lightning post-season run.
-When the Lightning score first they have a record of 10-1
-The Lightning are 6-1 on the road.
-They have allowed three goals in their last four road games.
-The Lightning are 3-0 in playoff games at the Nassau Coliseum.
-The Lightning have a four game road winning streak and are allowing 1.71 goals per game over that stretch.
The Islanders have been down to Pittsburgh, Boston and now Tampa 2-1 in their playoff series. They won game four in each of those series and went on to win the series.
The Lightning have won game four in their two prior series against Florida and Carolina to go up 3-1.
One team will not continue that trend. My money is on the Lightning winning game four, and coming back to Tampa to take a three games to one to series lead.