New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) knocks the puck away from Tampa Bay Lightning center Blake Coleman (20) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Lightning Look to Even Series with Islanders in Semifinals

The Tampa Bay Lightning welcome the New York Islanders back to Amalie Arena for Game 2 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series.

The Islanders claimed Game 1 with a 2-1 victory over the Lightning.

Tampa Bay did not produce the dominant offense we’ve seen throughout the playoffs. However, the Lightning defense and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy managed to shutdown the Isles’ power play and keep Tampa Bay in the game with 29 saves.

Looking at the Islanders

The Isles deserve the credit for outplaying the Lightning in Game 1. New York won more faceoffs, 28 compared to Tampa Bay’s 18, and created more scoring opportunities. In a game where one goal gives you a chance at the Stanley Cup Finals, the Isles produced.

Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock put the Isles on the board, each scoring goals.

New York played a clean game with minimum penalties (three) and only one giveaway.

In addition, what gave the Isles the edge was the stellar performance from goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov recorded 30 saves against one of the top offenses in the NHL.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning offense saw a rare night in Game 1. The lone goal from Brayden Point was the only offensive highlight for a talented Tampa Bay roster.

The Lightning offense contains, four of the playoffs leading scorers. Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 19 total playoff points. Furthermore, Point, Alex Killorn, and Steven Stamkos are closely behind each tallying 13 total points in the postseason.

However, one key for the Lightning is there ability to capitalize on the power play. Taking it a step further, the Bolts are able to contain their opponent on the power play, keeping New York scoreless on three attempts.

Vasilevskiy can be created in part for this. The goaltender holds the top playoff save percentage with .934 and recorded 30 saves in Game 1.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper commented on how his team’s mindset has shifted to a defensive perspective.

Listen Live

You can tune into live coverage of Game 2 on 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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