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UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – JUNE 17: Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning scores a goal against the New York Islanders during the second period in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Coliseum on June 17, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo : Elsa/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning regained home ice advantage in their series against the New York Islanders as they pulled off a critical 2-1 road win in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Semifinals Thursday. Brayden Point scored the game-winner for the Lightning who now hold a commanding 2-1 series lead.
Quick start once again the key for Tampa Bay
The Lightning headed into Game 3 knowing that it was critical them for to start strongly. Prior to Thursday’s matchup, the Lightning were 9-1 when scoring first this postseason. So it was a huge relief for Tampa Bay when Yanni Gourde opened the scoring at 10:05 of the first period. He immediately shot the puck from a sharp angle after Blake Coleman’s centering attempt from below the goal line redirected to Gourde off the skate of New York defenseman Nick Leddy.
Tampa Bay dominated during the opening period as the Lightning outshot the Islanders, 9-7, during this stretch. The Islanders, however, fought back in the second period, with Clutterbuck scoring the equalizer at 17:01 of the second period. He managed to jam Matt Martin’s rebound over the goal line after Tampa Bay defenseman Erik Cernak tried to stuff the puck under Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove.
Just when you thought that the momentum was with New York, the Lightning stormed back and regained the lead. Point got a rebound off a point shot by Victor Hedman and struck it past New York goaltender Semyon Varlamov as he was falling to the ice with 18 seconds remaining. It was a critical goal for the Lightning as it came just four seconds after their power play expired in the final minute of the second period.
Brayden Point creates more history
Point has been on fire for the Lightning this postseason, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to score in six consecutive playoff games, and the first in the NHL since Martin Havlat accomplished the feat with the Ottawa Senators back in 2006. Point’s goal was his 33rd in the playoffs, tying him with Martin St. Louis for third in Lightning history. Nikita Kucherov leads the scoring list with 41 with Ondrej Palat coming in second with 35 goals.
Point has now scored 11 goals in this postseason alone and has now recorded eight goals in his last nine games. He will look to create more history in Game 4 with a goal there as that will see him tie Claude Lemieux (1997), Joe Sakic (1996), Mario Lemieux (1996), Pat LaFontaine (1992) and Mario Lemieux (1991) with seven straight goal-scoring games in the playoffs.
The Islanders pushed for the equalizer in the third period but just couldn’t find the breakthrough. They outshot the Lightning 8-5 during a tense final period and even pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with about 1:48 left in the game but still couldn’t manage a shot on goal as Tampa Bay hung on for the victory.
The Islanders have now lost Game 3 at home in each of their three playoff series to fall into a 2-1 series deficit. That has been a good thing for them this postseason as they rebounded with three straight victories to advance past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and the Boston Bruins in the second round.
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