The New York Islanders leave Tampa Bay with two points over a team that has dominated the league this season and more importantly dominated the Isles last season.
In two weeks back in 2016 the New York Islanders lost three times to the Tampa Bay Lightning. What made it worse is the Lightning routed them every time, putting up a 14-2 goal differential on the Isles.
It was embarrassing. Not only because of the scoreline but because just that summer the Lightning eliminated the New York Islanders from the playoffs in the eastern conference quarter-finals. The Isles had something to prove, and they very much didn’t do it last season.
Fast forward to a year later and the Islanders finally got their revenge with a 5-3 win over the Lightning. It wasn’t a comfortable win like the Lightning did, but a win is a win.
How It Happened
The New York Islanders raced to a 2-0 lead. First, it was Ladd getting one in the opening minutes of the game. And then it was Anders Lee at the half-way mark of the period. And that’s how the period ended. Thanks in large part to Thomas Greiss.
The Isles looked like the better team. The Lightning had only lost two games prior to this, so we all knew they’d enter the second fighting. And then Brock Nelson put in a third, and his first point in eight games, and we’re all starting to think we’ve got a rout on our hands.
Add a fourth on the power play right at the start of the third season and that rout was on. It looked like it was going to be a comfy win for the isles. But then again its the Isles and we should have known better. Because the Lightning scored two goals only 13 seconds apart. And things got scary.
Add another goal for the Lightning and we all held our collective breaths for the epic third period Islanders collapse. We saw them lose games they should have won last season. But this one would have been quite the spectacular collapse.
But then captain John Tavares pops in the empty net, and order is restored for the New York Islanders.
A win is great, but the Islanders still have a ton to work on. It seems that if they can’t score three or more goals they won’t be able take a win. That has to change going forward. But for now, two points off the best team in the league. Feels pretty good.