Throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs we’ll be keeping track of all the action around the league, and bringing you all of the results in one place.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 6 New York Islanders
It was a potential elimination night for the Islanders yesterday, and Game 5 started off with some jump, but it took us a while to really get going, in terms of generating really dangerous chances and testing either goaltender. Indeed, it took until the final five minutes of the first period for anyone to break through, and here it was Ryan Pulock on the power play, beating Andrei Vasilevskiy with just an absolute bomb, and the Islanders were off to a good start.
The Lightning, though, didn’t seem to fluster, just kept their heads down and did some solid work in possession, and in the end it paid dividends, even if it took until late in the period. Catching the Islanders on a bad change, Luke Schenn made a nice stretch pass for the entry, Blake Coleman got in initial shot, and the rebound was kicked right out into the slot, and while Yanni Gourde just missed picking up up, Victor Hedman was right behind him to pick up the puck, and his shot was in the back of the net before Varlamov even reacted to it. Maybe not exactly textbook, but still pretty sweet.
And it looked like they weren’t done yet! After a zone entry just a few moments later, Cedric Paquette won a puck battle in the corner and got the puck up to Carter Verhaeghe who beat Varlamov to put the Lightning on top. But not so fast! The Islanders challenged the goal for offsides, and upon review, we saw Verhaeghe jumping over the boards on the entry, about a mile offsides, so that one came back. Alas!
And so the game remained tied and the third period brought us a bit more running and gunning, but what still was lacking was finish. Both sides had a fair few chances, but we had a lot of blocked shots, and the ones that did get through, Varlamov and Vasilevskiy both came up huge. The Lightning would have a prime chance late in regulation to win this one, as Anthony Beauvillier took a four minute high sticking penalty, and the Lightning had the chance to get to work on the power play. The bad news for them, though, was that they couldn’t convert in the third, and even with a few looks they got on the carryover in the overtime period, they couldn’t seem to generate anything really dangerous to beat Varlamov. The rest of the period continued, well, much like the third period, as they kept up the pace pretty well and exchanged a few looks, but still the bounces weren’t materializing for either side.
So we rolled into double overtime (and now feels like a good time to remind you that both teams were playing 11 forwards and seven defensemen in this game), and we got, you guessed it, even more of the same. Lot of chances, but nothing could beat the goalies. At one point the DJ in the arena started playing “All Night Long” and I started sweating a bit, because this one felt like it was going to go on forever. But it didn’t go all night long, rather with just over seven and a half minutes left in the second overtime period, we saw Kevin Shattenkirk whiff on a shot at his own blue line, turning the puck over, and that sprung the Islanders on a two-on-one, and it was a stellar pass from Anders Lee to hit Jordan Eberle in stride, and he put a laser in past Vasilevskiy, securing the win and keeping his team alive.