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TAMPA, FLORIDA – JUNE 21: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 21, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo : Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning moved to within a victory of another Stanley Cup Final appearance after destroying the New York Islanders, 8-0, in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series. It was a terrific performance by the Lightning who now hold a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Action shifts to New York for Game 6 this coming Wednesday.
Stamkos powers eight-goal explosion
Steven Stamkos led the way for Tampa Bay in this one-sided rout, recording two goals and an assist. He opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the game for his first goal in six games. Stamkos then doubled his tally at 5:42 of the second period with a one-timer from the left face-off circle on the power play to stretch the Lightning’s lead to 4-0.
It wasn’t just Stamkos who stood out in Game 5 as plenty of heroes delivered for Tampa Bay on Monday. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves and notched his fourth career playoff shutout. The 8-0 win was Vasilevskiy’s third shutout win in the 2021 postseason. He previously blanked Florida and Carolina in series-clinchers in the opening two rounds.
Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn made sure Tampa Bay was on their way to a Game 5 win, each scoring a goal in the opening period to give the Lightning a three-goal cushion. Gourde gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead at 11:04 when his pass hit defenseman Andy Greene’s stick and trickled past New York goalie Semyon Varlamov.
It was a tough night for Varlamov who was removed after Killorn made it 3-0 at 15:27 of the opening period. Varlamov allowed three goals on 16 shots in Game 5. Such was Tampa Bay’s dominance in the opening period that they outshot New York, 19-5, during the game’s opening 20 minutes.
The Lightning continued their assault in the second period with Stamkos, Palat and Killorn extending Tampa Bay’s advantage to six goals. Frustration set in for the Islanders at this point with Mathew Barzal being given a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross-checking Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta at the end of the second period.
Point extends scoring streak
Brayden Point made New York pay on the ensuing power play, scoring Tampa Bay’s seventh goal at 1:59 of the third period. He has now scored a goal in each of his last eight playoff games, the second-longest stretch within a single postseason in the history of the NHL. Luke Schenn, who was playing for the first time since Game 3 of the second round, capped the scoring with a fine finish at 12:05 to make it 8-0 for Tampa Bay.
The Lightning showed their resiliency once again as they improved to 13-0 in games following a playoff defeat since launching their memorable 2020 title run. Vasilevskiy has been the goaltender in each of those 13 wins while Kucherov has a team-leading 26 points (5 goals and 21 assists) during that stretch.
The pressure now is on New York to find ways to stop this high-flying attack of Tampa Bay. The Islanders have been outscored 10-0 over the last four periods of this series. It’s paramount for New York to score first in Game 6. The Lightning are now 11-1 in this postseason when they score the first goal. Tampa Bay is 0-4 though when they have conceded first in this year’s playoffs.
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