Islanders survive third period Lightning rally to even series at two games each

Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Matt Martin all scored in the second period Saturday night for the host New York Islanders, who survived a third-period rally by the Tampa Bay Lightning to earn a 3-2 win in Game 4 of an NHL semifinal series in Uniondale, N.Y.

The win evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Game 5 is scheduled for Monday night in Tampa.

Goalie Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Islanders, though defenseman Ryan Pulock made the save of the game as time expired by sprawling across the net to block Ryan McDonagh’s shot.

Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson scored in the third for the Lightning. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 27 saves.

The Lightning outshot the Islanders 11-4 in the first and had the first six shots of the second before the Islanders took control.

Islanders even the series with tough performance

islanders even series
Jun 19, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) scores a goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period in game four of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Nelson set up Bailey’s goal by coming to a complete stop, doing a 360 and passing across the ice to Bailey, who deked McDonagh before firing a shot through McDonagh’s legs and beyond Vasilevskiy’s glove at the 5:30 mark.

The Islanders took advantage of Lightning star Point losing his stick to double the lead with 6:14 left. Cal Clutterbuck fired a shot from just inside the blue line that ricocheted off a leaning Vasilevskiy and to Barzal, who would normally be covered by Point. Instead, Barzal pounced on the rebound and fired the puck into the open net.

Martin, who missed the wedding of his brother-in-law Gunnar Esiason — son of former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason — Saturday, backhanded home a rebound of a shot by Adam Pelech with 2:03 remaining.

“Our game was good,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “I know that we probably had more chances when I look at the game. … Our 60-minute game was pretty decent other than the seven or eight minutes where they surged on us, and we had a surge earlier. This is what we expected, 2-2 going back (to Tampa). It’s a best-of-3 now.”

Lightning comeback almost tied the game

Point began the Lightning’s comeback by racing up the right side of the ice and deking Andy Greene before firing a shot past Varlamov 3:45 into the third. It was the seventh straight game in which Point has scored a goal.

Johnson pulled the Lightning within a goal 2:58 later, when he was stuffed twice by Varlamov before he skated around the ice with the puck and fired a shot past the screened keeper.

The Lightning almost tied the game as time expired, when McDonagh did his own 360 at the doorstep and got the puck past Varlamov, who was out of the crease. But Pulock slid across and blocked the puck as the crowd of 12,978 erupted.

“Now it’s a best-of-3,” Lightning forward Tyler Johnson said. “You have to look ahead, you have to move forward. This game, you can’t change anything now, so we’ve got to try to learn from mistakes, be ready to play a full 60 minutes. You get that home ice back, and we have to use it to our advantage.”

–Field Level Media