Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos both netted two goals and an assist and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy collected the shutout to lead the host Tampa Bay Lightning to a 8-0 whitewashing of the New York Islanders on Monday that puts them one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven semifinal series and will look to close it out Wednesday in Uniondale, N.Y.
Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Luke Schenn also scored for the defending champions, who set a franchise playoff record for goals differential. Vasilevskiy made 21 saves for his third shutout of this year’s playoffs.
Islanders starting goalie Semyon Varlamov surrendered three goals on 16 shots before being pulled. Ilya Sorokin stopped 20 of 25 shots in relief. The result was the most one-sided postseason defeat in Islanders history.
“In the end, it’s one win,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Regardless what you win by, it’s the win that matters, not by how much. It’s a clean slate in two nights and we’ve got to get after it again.”NHL.com
Lightning strike early and often
The Lightning were looking for a quick start and received it when Stamkos scored just 45 seconds into the clash when he pounced on a loose puck in the left circle. He snapped a personal five-game goal drought.
Gourde doubled the lead at the 11:04 mark when he stole the puck in the offensive zone and his cross-ice pass banked into the net off defender Andy Greene. Killorn’s first of the game, a redirect of David Savard’s point shot, spelled the end of the game for Varlamov at 15:27 of the one-sided opening frame.
The goalie switch didn’t turn the tide. Stamkos potted his second of the game with a one-timer from the left faceoff dot for a power-play goal at 5:42 of the middle frame, and then Palat extended the lead to 5-0 when he deflected Savard’s point shot 10 minutes later.
Killorn’s second of the game was another power-play marker and another deflected point shot with 2:07 remaining in the middle period.
Islanders totally dominated, Barzal ejected
The onslaught didn’t end there. Point extended his goal-scoring streak to eight games when he scored Tampa Bay’s 20th power-play goal of the playoffs 119 seconds into the third period.
His streak is the second longest in a single year in Stanley Cup history, two back of the mark set by Reggie Leach of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976.
“I’m not thinking about it,” Point said. “It’s playoff time, and personal stats don’t mean anything. It’s about wins. Our group played solid tonight and we got a big win. It doesn’t happen without teammates. I’ve had a lot of goals these playoffs that have been great setups or tap-ins, so it’s been a group effort.”NHL.com
Schenn rounded out the scoring when his point shot ricocheted off the skate of Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock and into the net at 12:05 of the third period. Schenn, who played in place of the injured Erik Cernak, scored his first playoff goal since 2016.
“At the end of the day, we’re going back home, it’s 3-2 and we’ve just got to focus on earning the right to keep playing,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “At the end of the day, we could’ve lost 1-0 tonight in double or triple overtime and it feels like it’s the same result.NHL.com
New York’s top goal-scorer, Mathew Barzal, was given a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking Jan Rutta at the end of the second period.
–Field Level Media