With goals in each period, the Lightning even the series against the New York Islanders.
The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to avenge a New York Islanders game one win. The team fed off the electric atmosphere in Amalie Arena. Both teams getting the physical game going early. However, it was the Lightning who would grab the first power play of the night.
While on the man advantage, the team cycled the puck in the offensive zone. Brayden Point standing at the top of the crease nearly striking home a quick rebound. The point would get his shot minutes later. While standing in front, a pass from behind the net found his stick. Point threw it in between Semyon Varlamov’s left arm for the early lead.
Later in the period, Point charging the net on a two-on-one opportunity was pushed from behind. He collided with the Islanders netminder. Varlamov would exit the game while New York would go on the powerplay. The Islanders would not waste any time with a goal 19 seconds in to tie the game at one. Brock Nelson scoring his seventh of the postseason.
Ilya Sorokin came in for Varlamov stopping all six shots face.
Tampa also brought the physical play in the first period. Patrick Maroon would get into a tussle with Matt Martin. Both teams jawing at each other throughout the frame.
Varlamov would return for the second period.
In the middle frame, New York coming in strong with two-shot ringing off the post. The team would get a third powerplay opportunity of the night. However, it was the Lightning who made the most of it including a shorthanded breakaway opportunity. Yanni Gorde trying to make a move but Varlamov stood tall keeping it a tie game.
Later in the period, the Lightning would regain the lead. A lead-pass up to Nikita Kucherov sprang the forward into the offensive zone. He could not corral the pass though and had to circle back in the left-hand faceoff circle. He drew two defenseman with Ondrej Palat sliding through the slot. A feed from Kucherov to the stick of Palat and he would not miss. Rocketing a shot off the post above Varlamov’s blocker for the 2-1 lead.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was livid about the play. During a timeout, he argued with the referee claiming the Lightning had too many men on the ice during the goal. Nonetheless, the Lightning kept the lead.
Andrei Vasilevskiy making saves throughout the night coming up big in the dying seconds of the middle frame. A bouncing puck in front, the Russian goaltender moving to his right had to stick the left pad out to make the stop.
In the third, the hustle from the Lightning all night paid off. Varlamov came out of his net to play the puck. However, the Lightning grabbed it in the corner. A pass from Barclay Goodrow sent it to the right-wing point. Jan Rutta one-timed the shot through a screen and into the top corner of the net. The goal gave Tampa the 3-1 lead. The goal was Rutta’s first since December of 2019. It was also the first goal by a defenseman in the postseason for Tampa.
Later in the period, Tampa would pot home another goal; this time on the powerplay. The team cycled the puck inside the offensive zone. It created havoc for the Islanders. Victor Hedman on the left-wing circle walked in and shot it over Varlamov. It was his first of the postseason.
In the second half of the third, the Lightning racked up the penalty minutes. However, Tampa’s penalty kill stood tall. The Islanders with a 4-on-3 opportunity feeding shots at the point. But with active sticks kept the puck out of the net.
Late in the period, the Islanders would cut the lead. Matthew Barzal pushing a rebound into the back of the net. He started the play by feeding Jordan Eberle while entering the offensive zone. Vasilevskiy made the initial save but could not contain the rebound.
But the Islanders could not surmount the deficit. The Tampa Bay Lightning win game 2 by a final of 4-2. As the horn sounded, players converging on the ice. Referees had to get into the middle and separate several scrums. Tampa Bay has yet to lose consecutive games during the 2021 postseason.
The series will head to Long Island on Thursday. Game 3 will be at the Nassau Coliseum with puck drop at 8 p.m.