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Islanders: Three Takeaways from 3-2 Game Four Win vs Lightning

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Matt Martin #17 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Cal Clutterbuck #15 and Casey Cizikas #53 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 Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Matt Martin #17 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Cal Clutterbuck #15 and Casey Cizikas #53 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 Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)

In front of a raucous Saturday night crowd, the New York Islanders bested the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game Four of their Stanley Cup Semi-Finals series.

Thanks to Ryan Pulock’s last-second heroics, the New York Islanders withstood a third-period surge by the Tampa Bay Lightning to win Game Four of their Stanley Cup Semi-Finals series 3-2. The win drew them even at 2-2 in the series headed into a pivotal Game Five in Tampa.

Here are three takeaways from Game Four.

1. Pulock’s Last Second Block Saves Islanders

I think we might as well just dive straight into the defining play of the game, and that was Ryan Pulock’s last second block at the Islanders goal line which sealed the win.

With both Brock Nelson and Semyon Varlamov sprawling out of position, and Ryan McDonagh flinging a spin-o-rama backhander from the slot toward the yawning Islander goal, Pulock dove on hand and knee to turn that puck aside. Just incredible. That feels like the ending to a Mighty Ducks movie or something.

It felt like the entirety of the Nassau Coliseum crowd held their collective breath as Varlamov charged out of his net to challenge McDonagh, who then spun to render him out of position. Then, this absolutely deafening roar and release of emotion as Pulock punched that puck away from the goalmouth.

That was a special, special moment. The kind where you instantly know you’re going to be seeing that play for years and years to come, regardless of the result of the series. It was a defining moment.

Pulock is coming off the best regular season of his career at age 26, despite struggling to score with that heavy slap shot which he possesses. He solidified himself as an elite top-pairing defenseman for this Islanders club in 2020-21, and Saturday night he got to put his stamp on a crucial, must-win game for his team in the most visible way possible.

Ryan Pulock probably just etched his name into the annals of New York Islanders lore forever.

One thing I noticed being back at the Coliseum Saturday for the first time in almost a year and a half was the swell of new Adam Pelech jerseys I saw amongst the crowd. I didn’t see a ton of Pulock 6’s walking around the halls of the Coli but would be shocked if that doesn’t change after Saturday.

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