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Islanders: Three Takeaways from Game Three Loss to Lightning

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders during the second period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders during the second period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning after scoring a goal past Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

2. Islanders Defended Their Slot Well in Game Three

Both Tampa Bay Lightning goals came from shots within 10 feet of the Islanders goal line in game three.

That said, it would be fair to say that overall the Islanders did a fairly good job of defending their own slot. According to MoneyPuck’s interactive scoring chances map, the Lightning only registered four unblocked shot attempts from the inner slot.

Meanwhile, in the offensive zone, I counted 11 New York shots from the inner slot on the MoneyPuck scoring chances map, though there could be more which I missed due to the Tampa net-front being a pretty solid blob of blue circles indicating chances for the Isles.

The Islanders ability to lock their net-front down and force teams to take lesser percentage shots from the outside is one of the team’s greatest strengths. Yet, in each of games one and two Tampa registered a large number of scoring chances from New York’s inner slot, so it’s not as if the Lightning are simply abandoning the slot to focus on shooting from the point in this series.

More of what it looks like to me is that New York simply defended their slot well.

The Gourde goal was the result of a bit of a broken play, which can happen to any team. Brayden Point’s game-winner came after an extended stretch of zone time for Tampa while on the power-play and was an extraordinary effort by Point to get the shot away.

Again, these are not indications that the Islanders will win game four. It isn’t an indication that they will win the series, or even win another game in the series. But they are indicators that the Isles are competing well against the Lightning, and there is certainly room to make the argument that a bit of puck luck could’ve drastically altered the result of game three.

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