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Islanders have epic second period against Lightning in Game 4

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Cal Clutterbuck #15, Ryan Pulock #6 and Adam Pelech #3 after scoring a goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Coliseum on June 19, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Cal Clutterbuck #15, Ryan Pulock #6 and Adam Pelech #3 after scoring a goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Coliseum on June 19, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Remember when the New York Islanders were terrible in the second period? You should because it basically happened the entirety of the regular season.

Over the 56 game season, the Islanders held a -4 goal differential in the second period. Keep in mind, they were +15 and +16 in the first and third periods. They were pretty poor in the second period during the regular season.

With Game 4 tied at 0-0 as they entered play in the second, the New York Islanders put up an epic performance to power themselves into a three-goal lead through 40.

New York Islanders have epic second period in Game 4

Before getting to the goals just look at how good the Islanders were in creating chances and pushing the Lightning back and keeping them in their own zone:

  • 57.58 CF%
  • 58.82 SCF%
  • 80 HDCF%
  • 62.14 xGF

(Stats from NaturalStatTrick)

This was the dominant 5on5 team we’re all used to seeing. With a high forecheck and active sticks the Islanders were able to break up anything Tampa tried to generate and eventually push cave them into their own zone.

Josh Bailey opens the scoring with a rifle of a wrist shot over Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s glove. Why Josh Bailey doesn’t shoot more is beyond me. The Islanders elite winger has a killer wrist shot but seldomly uses it.

Six minutes later Mathew Barzal popped in his sixth goal in eight playoff games. And it’s not going to get easier than that for number 13. How Tampa Bay allowed him to effectively sit there and wait for the puck is ridiculous. Jon Cooper must have been fuming after that.

Then came the dagger as Matt Martin tosses a backhand towards an empty net to make it 3-0. Why was the net empty? Well, Vasilevskiy was there but he was well out of position. And it’s not his fault. His net was bombarded by the Isles who were swarming in the Tampa zone for nearly two full minutes.

There are still 20 minutes to go, but a 3-0 lead for the New York Islanders should be enough to see out a win. The third period will be tense.

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