Islanders Jordan Eberle double OT hero to force Game 6 (Highlights)

New York Islanders extend playoff run with a 2-1 double OT win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5.

“I know this group has invested too much to not give their best effort on Tuesday” –Barry Trotz on this club as they entered Game 5 down 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The New York Islanders needed a big effort to extend their playoffs.

And, well, they didn’t quite get that “best effort” Trotz wanted. Through a sometimes grueling 92:30 contest, the Islanders were only able to get 24 shots on goal. That’s it 24 through 1.5 games of hockey.

But they got the win and frankly at this late hour, that’s all that matters.

Big Changes

Barry Trotz made good on his statement that changes were coming to the Islanders lineup. The Isles coach went with eleven forwards and seven defensemen. The Islanders regular six defensemen were out there and Johnny Boychuk was added to the group.

For the forwards, Trotz shook up just about every line. Eberle and Clutterbuck swapped spots and with eleven forwards the “fourth line” was simply Leo Komarov and Derick Brassard.

The Isles found their opening three-quarters of the way through the first when Nikita Kucherov was penalized for tripping Brock Nelson.

Throughout this series, the Islanders have had a tough time on the power play. Their over-reliance to feed Ryan Pulock has made the Islanders power play too predictable. But you can’t keep a good man down.

At 15:41 of the first period, Ryan Pulock finds the net with a trademark slap shot from Ovie’s office.

The Islanders have scored first in this series but have never left the opening period ahead. They were either buried (Game 1) or scored the first goals (Game 2 and 3) only to see Tampa equalize. This time the Isles were able to see out the period.

Off By A Mile

Way too often in these playoffs, when the Islanders have a lead they park the bus and they dare their opponents to break them down. Against Washington, that worked. Against Philly in kind of work. Against Tampa, it hasn’t worked at all.

The Islanders were entering the second period playing with a lead for the first time in the series. Taking the game to the Lightning, rather than sitting back and protecting that lead, was the Islanders plan. For once.

But just four minutes into the period, following a poor change by the Islanders and a little too much puck watching off a Varlamov rebound, Victor Hedman scores his eighth goal of the playoffs to tie the game at one.

Minutes later Carter Verhaeghe seems to score, but the play is challenged for offside by Barry Trotz. The challenge is successful after it became clear the Lightning were comically offside.

Shots?

It took the Islanders 12 minutes to get their first shot on net in the third period. With the score tied in an elimination game, this isn’t the type of game you want to see from the New York Islanders.

Oh, and in the 12 minutes, the Isles had a wildly unsuccessful power play where the Islanders didn’t dump the puck in once. A strategy they use more than most teams at 5on5 in the NHL. I understand not making it the strategy on the power play but make it a strategy on the power play.

The Islanders were playing catchup most of the final frame. That fact wasn’t made easier with Anthony Beauvillier clipping Mikhail Sergachev in the face with this stick at 18:37.

So with Tampa failing to convert in regulation, they’d get just over two and a half minutes with the man advantage. Unfortunately, Tampa has won their two previous series in OT. In a Game 5 no less.

Overtime Hero

Through 32:30 of OT time, the New York Islanders only put up eight shots. That shouldn’t be enough to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. But thanks former New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle were able to get an odd-man rush to where the former Edmonton man scored the winner.

No one needed that more than Jordan Eberle who’s been a shadow of his former self this entire series. Ideally, this goal, a beauty OT game-winner, opens the floodgates.

Three Winners

Semyon Varlamov: 36 saves, 0.973SV%
Jordan Eberle: 1GWG
Ryan Pulock: 1 PPG

Three Losers

Kevin Shattenkirk: a fanned attempt at the blue line
Nikita Kucherov: Almost had it a few times
Anthony Beauvillier: 4 min double-minor at the end of regulation