Game 1 went about as poorly as you can imagine for the New York Islanders who fall 8-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Game 1 was horrendous for the New York Islanders. There’s no other way to put an 8-2 loss in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
No one showed up today for the Islanders. The forwards didn’t put up any pressure up the ice. The defense couldn’t clear the net. And the goalies couldn’t come up with a save let alone a big one.
Maybe this is what to expect after playing a Game 7, traveling the next day, and then playing a team that’s been waiting for a week?
This is a game the Isles
have to forget
in order to get themselves back in this series.
Brayden Point was hot coming into this game, and he stayed hot with a nifty move to freeze Ryan Pulock and then skate around him and Greiss to push the puck in the open cage.
Going down 1-0 in the opening minute was not ideal for the Islanders. But they’d gone down early before. Against the Flyers the Islanders went 1-0-3 when Philly scored first. Yes, I know an overtime loss in the playoffs still counts as a loss but I wanted to show that they still came back and could have won.
A power play that was good against the Flyers got a chance to operate soon after Point’s goal. And if any player needed one it was
. He may have had six helpers against the Flyers but he had an endless number of chances to get a goal and whiffed on all of them in the Philly series.
Things looked good! Eberle was on the scoreboard after what was surely 1,000 chances against Philly and the power play was clicking again.
Things were very much not good though.
The Islanders just didn’t have an answer for Tampa’s high 2-1-2 press. The Tampa forechecker didn’t allow the Isles to make a pass out of the zone but it also kept the Isles D deep in the zone which opened up the point for the Tampa defense to get shots on net.
After Eberle’s PPG, the Bolts put up two goals within two minutes. First, it was a shot from the point by Victor Hedman that Greiss didn’t see, the second was a Ryan McDonagh blast that Greiss, again, did not see.
With a 3-1 lead eleven minutes into the game, Greiss was pulled.
Neither of the three goals-against were Greiss’s fault though. But Barry had to do something to try and stop the bleeding and pulling the goalie is one of the few cards he had.
The Islanders were better in the second period. Although, when you give up three goals in a single period it’s hard to get worse, right?
In the second frame, the Islanders held an 11-8 shot advantage. At 5on5 they held an 83.33 SCF%, a 75 HDCF%, and a 66.08 xGF% but yet Tampa still managed to add two more goals to their 3-1 lead.
(5on5 stats from NaturalStatTrick.)
It just wasn’t the Islanders night. Last year we saw how too much time off didn’t do them any favors, now it seems the quick turnaround after playing Game 7 and then traveling to Edmonton hasn’t done them any favors either.
Sure, the Islanders got chances, they dominated at 5on5, but Tampa was finding success on the rush. Whatever the Isles tired it wasn’t working or Andre Vasilevskiy would show why he could be a back-to-back Vezina Trophy winner.
After two periods the Isles were down 5-1.
Just End It
I wanted to talk about the possibility of a third period come back, but why?
The Islanders were absolutely dreadful all night from the forwards to the defense. From execution to discipline. It was horrendous.
The Lightning were so good they didn’t miss the net until 67 seconds left in the game. Yeah. They went 58:53 WITHOUT MISSING THE NET! That’s wild, incredible, use whatever word you want but that alone shows the gulf in class between the two teams tonight.
Game 2 is only two days away so the Islanders have to regroup quickly. There’s plenty of time to sort this out and get back in the series. Afterall an 8-2 loss counts just the same as a 2-1 loss.
Brayden Point: 2G, 3A
Nikita Kucherov: 1G, 4A
Kevin Shattenkirk: 3A
Devon Toews: -2
Casey Cizikas: 1SOG, 20 FOW%
Semyon Varlamov: 20 saves, 0.800SV%