Even if a team gets off to a hot start, they will have to hold off a push from their opponent at some point in the game. The Tampa Bay Lightning dealt with that scenario on Tuesday night. The Bolts dominated the New York Islanders in the 1st period. They held a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard and an 11-2 shots on goal advantage after 1. Things changed quickly in the 2nd period. The Isles had evened up the scoring chances and tied the game before the Bolts could even blink. Tampa Bay were on their heels, but finally got a taste of momentum late in the frame. That momentum shifted on a Yanni Gourde power play goal. Gourde would add another goal and Vlad Namestnikov’s power play goal with just over a minute left to give Tampa Bay a 3-goal advantage heading to the final period. Chris Kunitz added a goal of his own in the 3rd to thwart another momentum shift in the 6-2 victory.
After the Lightning fell into a 4-0 hole the last time they played the Islanders, a fast start was imperative on Tuesday night. The Bolts struck about as quickly as possible. Brayden Point’s 10th goal of the season put his team in front just 34 seconds into the game. That 1st stretch was a sign of things to come in the period. The Bolts dominated play and got the majority of the scoring chances in the period. They were finally able to take that domination to the scoreboard late in the period. This time it was Andrej Sustr who got it past Thomas Greiss for his 2nd of the season. At the end of the period the Islanders had as many shots on goal as the Bolts had tallies on the scoreboard. The Bolts got those 2 goals on 11 shots.
The Islanders came out a lot better in the 2nd period. The Isles got the first 4 shots on goal in the period, and then got their first power play chance of the game. They continued to press and were rewarded when Matthew Barzal cut the lead in half. The tale of 2 periods continued. After trailing the shots on goal by 9 heading into the 2nd, but tied that up rather quickly and then tied the game up shortly after. This time it was Jordan Eberle who got it past Vasilevskiy to knot the game at 2. The Bolts were on their heels, but finally got a little momentum back in their favor thanks to a Jason Chimera penalty. Tampa Bay furthered that momentum when Yanni Gourde scored his 7th goal of the season to put his team back in front. That little taste of momentum had the Lightning hungry for more. Less than 2 minutes later Gourde found the back of the net again to give Tampa Bay a 2-goal advantage yet again. Tampa Bay just kept going back to that all you can eat momentum buffet. Vlad Namestnikov’s power play goal with just over a minute left in the 2nd gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead heading to the final period.
Tampa Bay was ready to thwart off another momentum change in the final period. The cause was greatly helped when Chris Kunitz sent a rocket past Greiss right at the 6 minute mark. That goal made it a 4-goal advantage for Tampa Bay and effectively put the game out of reach for good.
The Lightning will continue this homestand on Thursday night by welcoming a team from the Western Conference. The Colorado Avalanche will come into Amalie Arena looking for 2 points. The puck is scheduled to drop shortly after 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning an hour prior on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. TBL - Point - (Palat, Kucherov) - 0:34
2. TBL - Sustr - (Kunitz, Callahan) - 17:47
1. NYI - PPG - Barzal - (Leddy, Tavares) - 7:07
2. NYI - Eberle - (Pelach, Barzal) - 8:58
3. TBL - PPG - Gourde - (Sergachev, Johnson) - 16:22
4. TBL - Gourde - (Koekoek, Conacher) - 17:56
5. TBL - PPG - Namestnikov - (Kucherov, Stamkos) - 18:46
1. TBL -Kunitz - (Unassisted) - 6:00
1. NYI - Lee - (Slashing) - 15:08
1. TBL - Point - (Tripping) - 5:34
2. NYI - Chimera - (Roughing) - 14:51
3. NYI - Lee - (Tripping) - 18:42
1. TBL - Bench Minor - (Too Many Men on Ice) - 11:21
2. NYI - Nelson - (Cross Checking) - 13:30
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 34
New York - 31