In Game 1 of the rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference final, the New York Islanders were able to come out with a strong performance. In the first period, no goals were scored on either side but it was the Isles who generated the chances.
They had 14 shots in the first frame and a 59.26 CF%. The Islanders are notoriously a bad Corsi team and to be able to do that against Tampa was impressive. They also had four high danger chances in the first period according to Natural Stat Trick.
In the second, the chances would continue for the Islanders and it was Mathew Barzal who was able to come through.
After a slow start, Mathew Barzal has had a great last five games with four goals to his name. Also, can we just talk about the vision from Josh Bailey on this play? He was excellent in this game and was inches away from scoring a goal as he put one off the post just earlier.
The Isles would send Tampa Bay to a late power play but the Islanders PK, to their credit were strong. They didn’t allow much in either the final 37 seconds of the second or the first 1:23 of the third period.
5:36 into the period, it was Ryan Pulock who extended the Islanders lead.
Pulock, who couldn’t buy a goal in the regular season, now has four in just 13 playoff games. This is one that Andrei Vasilevskiy normally saves but he was able to sneak it through with that strong shot of his.
At 18:22 Brock Nelson took a high sticking penalty on Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov may have done a good job selling it but it’s still a play that Brock Nelson has no business doing. Anyone with the net empty for Tampa, the Lightning had a 6-on-4 advantage.
On just his second shot of the game, Brayden Point was able to beat Semyon Varlamov to bring the Lightning within one with 53 seconds left. It would be too little too late though as the Isles won the faceoff after the goal and they’d kill the rest of the clock.
The Islanders steal Game 1 on the road by a score of 2-1.
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Winners: Semyon Varlamov, Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock
Losers: Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Brock Nelson