It’s over. The New York Islanders season comes to an end with a 2-1 OT loss in Game 6 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The New York Islanders played well in this series, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were certainly the better team in this series. The better team won the game and the series.
The only reason the Islanders had a chance to win today was due to the play of Semyon Varlamov. Without him, between the pipes, Tampa runs away with Game 6.
This loss is going to suck for a while, but there’s so much to be proud of. A team that was written off two years ago reached the Eastern Conference Finals and pushed it to six games. We should all be proud of what happened this season.
Through the first 20, the Islanders put six shots up on the Tampa Bay Lightning goal. That sounds low (and it is) but its more than Game 5 where the Islanders put five on the Lightning. And just like Game 5, the Islanders found the net first.
But unlike Game 5, the Tampa Bay Lightning took over on the shot sheet as they peppered Semyon Varlamov with rubber. Eventually, Victor Hedman found the back of the net to tie it up at one apiece.
Through a full 20, the Isles were down 17-6 in shots. That’s a -9 shot swing. If not for Semyon Varlamov this game is blown wide open in the first period. In all situations, Varly faced six high-danger chances
In the intermission, Anders Lee was asked if the Islanders can keep up with that kind of tempo. The captain confidently answered yes. If this were any other team, I would disagree with what Lee said, but the Islanders have played and won, this type of game before.
The Islanders made good on that statement from the captain. The tempo of the game was essentially the same thought most of the second period.
Tampa controlled play and generated a ton of chances. The Lightning got help on that front with the Islanders taking back-to-back trips to the penalty box with Devon Toews tossing the puck over the glass for a delay of game minor and Clutterbuck going off for tripping immediately after Toews’s time was served.
But once both of those minors were served and with Tampa unable to find the back of the net, the Isles started to take over.
It took almost ten minutes for the Islanders to get a puck on Vasilevskiy, but by the end of the period they’d finish with six shots and five were of the high danger variety. They didn’t have the best period (thanks to some penalty trouble), but as the captain said, they can play at the Lightning’s tempo.
The Islanders literally skated around the Tampa Bay Lightning for most of the third period. But to the Lightning’s credit, they were keeping the Isles to the outside.
This game was headed to overtime with the Isles holding all of the momentum, until Andy Greene‘s stick rides up Nikita Kucherov’s body and strikes his nose at 19:37 of the third. With no goal in the following 23 seconds, the Lightning would have a power play for 3:37 in OT.
If you’re thinking déja vu, you’re correctly remembering that the Lightning had 2:37 of power play time in the first OT of Game 5 after Anthony Beauviller was assessed a four minute double minor for high-sticking Mikhail Sergachev and drawing blood.
Anthony Cirelli ended things 13:18 in overtime with a good effort that hit the post and banked in off of Varlamov.
The Islanders had a power-play 8:49 into overtime but couldn’t generate anything for the win. Literally, the Islanders power play couldn’t score to save their lives. I couldn’t think of a more Islander way to end the season.
Anthony Cirelli: 1 GWG (OT)
Semyon Varlamov: 46 saves, 0.958SV%
Victor Hedman: 1G
Andy Greene: 4 PIM
Devon Toews: 4 PIM
Mathew Barzal: Poor d-zone coverage on GWG