HOW IT HAPPENED
The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched a playoff berth with a 5-0 shutout win over the New York Islanders at Amalie Arena on Saturday night. Bolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy registered his second shutout in three games with 38 saves in the win. Brayden Point had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (45-26-6), who have won three straight. Mikhail Sergachev scored the first goal of the game for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead after one. Tanner Jeannot, Nikita Kucherov, and Steven Stamkos each scored in the second period. Ilya Sorokin was pulled after allowing four goals on 21 shots for the Islanders (39-29-9). Seymon Varlamov made 10 saves after entering the game.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Penguins lost? Seriously, all the good news happened before the Islanders took the ice in Tampa Bay. First, GM Lou Lamoriello announced that Mathew Barzal would resume skating this weekend, opening the door for his return by the end of the regular season or perhaps the start of the post-season. Later, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 4-3 to the Boston Bruins, meaning that after Saturday's Isles loss, they are three points behind the Isles with one game in hand. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers won again and moved into the eighth spot, two points behind the Islanders.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The Islanders weren't sharp at all. There were missed assignments and defensive lapses, things they have been avoiding as of late. "We didn't have the awareness we should have," head coach Lane Lambert said when talking about the Kucherov goal. "That was the case against the Brayden Point line, but give them credit, they execute those plays. We have to be better."
"Regardless of the bounces, we have to have a better game," Anders Lee said. "You have to earn your bounces some nights and I think they did that at times. Tonight we didn't do that and we didn't get to our game at all."
STATS OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his 32nd career shutout, including three against the Isles (he also has two playoff shutouts vs. New York). It was the first time since Ilya Sorokin's NHL debut (1/16/2021) that the Islanders were shut-out by a margin of at least five goals.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Thomas Hickey has become a valuable member of the MSG Networks team this season, but for April Fools, the network had a little fun with the idea that Hickey would be joining his former team.
The Islanders are right back on the ice on Sunday against the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, NC. Face-off is set for 6:00 PM ET.