Who needs a King, when you have a Prince?
The Islanders defeated the Lightning 5-3 (ENG) last night, to take game 1 of the series behind two goals from Shane Prince. Here are my quick thoughts on the game:
Tampa came out and looked fast early on. The Lightning were easily getting behind the Islanders defenseman, and had some good shots on net. They scored 3 minutes in, and it looked like it was going to be a long night for Isles fans.
That was until Casey Cizikas laid a monster hit on Tampa forward Erik Condra, knocking him into the boards. Condra didn't return to the ice, and the Isles seemed to be a different team after the hit. The Isles got a goal by Travis Hamonic shortly after that sequence to tie the game at 1-1, and didn't look back.
Thomas Greiss is an animal. The Berlin Wall had another strong game recording 36 saves, and continues to be the key for the Islanders. There was much talk about the goaltending matchup and Tampa goalie Ben Bishop, but he was pulled in the second period after allowing 4 goals on 13 shots.
Tavares continues his hot streak. JT had a goal and an assist last night, and is the player that other guys look to on this team. Tavares is leading by example, and the players around him are noticing his strong play.
Coach Capuano with the magic touch again. This time he put Ryan Strome back in the lineup after scratching him in games 5 and 6 of last series. He shuffled some players and put Strome on a line with Shane Prince and Brock Nelson. That line produced two goals by Shane Prince, both of which came late in the 2nd period, and gave the Islanders a 4-1 advantage going into the 3rd. Strome set up both goals with two beautiful passes.
No lead is ever safe with this team. I have witnessed too many games throughout my Islanders fandom to know that no game is over until the final whistle. The Islanders were in command for most of the game, but Tampa fought back late in the third. A goal by Nikita Kucherov made it 4-2 with 12 minutes left to play, and I was back on the edge of my seat. A broken play with just under 3 minutes left created a goal by Valterri Filppula, and made it 4-3 game. Luckily Cal Clutterbuck buried an empty net goal with 55 seconds left, and Islanders fans were able to breathe again.
Overall the Islanders dominated most of the play in Game 1, and played a strong game. They will look for more of the same in Game 2 on Saturday in Tampa. Puck drops at 3pm.