Islanders prevail in OT, force Game 7 vs. Lightning in thriller at ‘The Coli’

Anthony Beauvillier scored 1:08 into overtime as the host New York Islanders came back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Wednesday in Uniondale, N.Y., forcing a decisive seventh game in the NHL semifinals.

Game 7 will be played Friday night in Tampa. The Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champions while the Islanders are looking to get to the finals for the first time since 1984.

“I honestly kind of blacked out a little bit,” Beauvillier said. “They turned the puck over, I think, and then I saw it go in and kind of blacked out. I was just so happy, I was screaming, and everyone kind of jumped on me. Obviously, an amazing feeling and I couldn’t be more happy.”

Islanders blow roof off ‘The Coli’

The Islanders, who lost 8-0 in Game 5, trailed 2-0 in Game 6 before Jordan Eberle scored in the second period and Scott Mayfield tied it in the third.

In overtime, Beauvillier stole the puck from Blake Coleman and beat goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy from point-blank range.

Beauvillier raced across the ice and went to his knees to begin a raucous celebration at Nassau Coliseum, which is closing at the end of the Islanders’ playoff run. A capacity crowd of 12,978 roared and threw hats, giveaway towels and beer on the ice as Beauvillier was mobbed by his teammates.

“I love this group, the character of this group, and I would say this building and what it’s meant to a number of players, but probably more than anything, our fans,” New York coach Barry Trotz said.
lightning islanders playoffs
Jun 23, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; The New York Islanders and their fans celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime in game six of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

New York goalie Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves.

Anthony Cirelli logged a goal and an assist and Brayden Point also scored for the Lightning. Vasilevskiy recorded 25 saves.

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The Islanders had a couple of scoring chances — Josh Bailey and Adam Pelech each fired wide of the net in a span of about eight minutes — before the red-hot Point created a turnover behind the Lightning net that led to his latest goal.

Pelech tried clearing the puck, but Point deflected it with his stick. The puck skittered into the crease, where Cirelli’s spinning shot bounced to Point, who fended off Pelech and sent a backhander shot over Varlamov’s pads and into the corner of the net at 16:02 of the first period.

Point has scored a goal in nine consecutive games — the second-longest streak in playoff history behind Reggie Leach, who scored in 10 straight games for the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1976 playoffs.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have played a lot of playoff games and have come back from losses or different situations,” Point said. “We’ve got a veteran leadership group in there that kind of keeps our head level. I don’t know if a lot of guys have played a lot of Game 7s, but we’re just going to try to take it as one game. It’s do or die for both teams and it’s going to be an intense one.”

The Lightning doubled the lead at 12:36 of the second period. Ondrej Palat sent a clearing pass through the neutral zone to a wide-open Cirelli, who beat Varlamov from point-blank range for Tampa Bay’s 12th unanswered goal dating back to the third period of Game 4.

The Islanders snapped the streak just 1:46 later. Eberle took a drop pass from Mathew Barzal and backhanded a shot between Tampa Bay defensemen Ryan McDonagh and David Savard as they converged upon Vasilevskiy in the crease.

Mayfield tied the score with 8:44 left in regulation when he rang a shot off the top post and in.

–Field Level Media