The Islanders set the tone in the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1, 2-0, on the road Sunday afternoon.
Takeaways from the game
1) Mat Barzal‘s hot streak from the Boston Bruins series carried right over to this one. Getting a feed from the Isles defensive zone all the way to the other blue line, Barzal won his 1-on-1 matchup and charged to the net, putting the puck between Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s legs to start the scoring in the game in the second period.
2) Ryan Pulock‘s patience was key in the Isles’ second goal of the game. Fighting hard in the forecheck, Pulock got the puck towards the boards but noticed space to his left, so he took it. Surveying, he decided to rip a slap shot that Vasilevskiy just couldn’t handle as it went under his right arm to make it a 2-0 game.
3) Semyon Varlamov was electric in the second round series, and he kept that momentum going to stop one of the hotter teams in the league right now when pucks came his way. He finished with 30 saves on 31 shots.
4) The Lightning pulled Vasilevskiy with about 2:30 to play as they tried to get on the board before it was too late. Just over 40 seconds later, Brock Nelson was called for high-sticking to give Tampa Bay a 6-4 advantage for the final minutes of regulation. Brayden Point put in the first Lightning goal of the game — on their 31st shot of the game — with 53.7 left to play to shoot some life into the Tampa bench, but it was too little too late, as the Islanders stole Game 1, 2-1.
5) This is a great way for the Islanders to start the East finals this time around, after falling in the first two games of last year’s series against Tampa Bay.
Game 2 between the Islanders and Lightning is on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.