Tampa Bay Lightning Even Series with New York Islanders

Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during game two of the Eastern Conference second round, on April 30, 2016 in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning evened their Stanley Cup playoff series with the New York Islanders 1-1 with a 4-1 win on Saturday.

This game shows that stats can hold no meaning to explaining a game. The Islanders outshot the Lightning 12-5 in the first period, but they played without heart and with mass confusion.

The Lightning took advantage of this, scoring two goals on said five shots.

With a soft pass from Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson backhanded the puck under goalie Thomas Greiss’s pads.

Then Jonathan Drouin scored his first career playoff goal after Greiss forgot to close his legs.

“He’s playing well,” said Lightning head coach John Cooper. “When we need the big goal and we need the goals to get us going there, he is creating offense and scoring for us. It’s not just that, it’s his play all over the ice. He’s competing real hard.”

Something woke up the Islanders, though, because with five minutes left in the period they woke up and played like the team that eliminated the Florida Panthers. Nikolay Kulemin brought his team within one with a rocket power play goal.

The Islanders ended the period dominating the Lightning, leading people to think they would take control in the second.

The exact opposite happened. The Islanders only managed five shots on goal as the Lightning constantly drilled the net and never let the puck leave the zone. Thanks to Greiss, though, the Lightning only scored one goal.

The Islanders completely ran out of gas in the third, but Greiss stopped every shot he faced despite no help from his teammates.

Johnson scored the only goal of the period into an empty net after Greiss left.

“It was great,” said Drouin after the game. “A lot of adrenaline going back. That was a big win. Our backs were against the wall a little bit and I’m happy I could get a goal, and getting a two-goal lead was huge for us.”

But the Islanders are not quite ready to give up.

“We are still three wins away from winning the series,” explained Islanders center John Tavares. “Obviously we want to be better than we were [Saturday]. We need to slow them down, they are obviously a quick team. So we need to be more aggressive on the forecheck.”

The teams will play Game 3 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern.


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