Tuesday’s 4-2 Lightning win over the Islanders in Game 2 had all kinds of storylines and Things To Watch as this Stanley Cup semifinal carries toward its middle stage beginning at Nassau Coliseum Thursday:
- There was the officiating (Brayden Point was penalized harshly after riding an Adam Pelech push into Semyon Varlamov, though they always call that; then later Ondrej Palat’s go-ahead goal happened with six Lightning skaters and one goalie on the ice).
- There was the brief and spotless appearance by Ilya Sorokin after Point’s collision with Varlamov, who returned after the first intermission and was fine. Just a “spotter” call to pull him out.
- There was the Lightning power play, which got lots of reps and demonstrated its lethal unpredictability.
- There was J-G Pageau missing time from a possible new injury and precaution, which would be big if he can’t be deployed as Barry Trotz desires with the home change in Games 3 and 4.
- There was the Lightning’s obvious and almost desperate but effective physical response, starting things in scrum after scrum almost as if they were willing themselves (and a curiously quiet, yet music-abused, Tampa crowd) into the fight.
All told, it’s still 1-1 after two games. Nothing new there, just a different sequence from the previous two rounds. Thursday and Saturday should be insane, no matter the outcome.
Game 2 recaps from last night:
- Jenny reminds us a split is good, regardless of order. Rough night for some players who’ve otherwise had good playoffs. [LHH]
- The Lightning are full of praise for NikLITRA Kucherov, who truly is impressive when not flopping. [AP]
- Some seriously outstanding saves from Vasilevskiy set the table for what came later. [Raw Charge]
- The local beats: [Post | Newsday]
- Turnovers and penalties hurt the Isles. [NHL]
- Heated and chippy. “We can be a lot better and we will be.” [Isles]
Thus Spake Trotz
“Too loose on the [second goal], not enough execution and a little bit of everything on the exits. We’ve got to have those details and we didn’t have it.” He also said Pageau is okay.
- Too many penalties, but also: “And they were taking some liberties tonight, [but] you know, it’s a long series.” [NHL]
Trotz Postgame Availability pic.twitter.com/FIi3gSlXyg— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 16, 2021
- The Lightning’s response and better play was expected. Now, can the Islanders elevate to match? [Post | Newsday]
- Tough situation for Ilya Sorokin coming in cold, but he kept the Isles in the game. [Post]
- Nikita Kucherov has more assists than any other player in this series has points. (Not quite as many flops though!) [NYI Skinny]
- Spizz is back with some observations and video fun, and if you want some good memories, here are his reactions to Game 1. [LHH]
- Long Beach native Greg Van Roten is the guy who organized the Jets to gather for Islanders games, don’t let some beer-crushing Blackhawks fan tell you different. [Newsday]
- Yet another story about the Lightning exploiting LTIR to have a supersized-cap playoff roster. (Note that media and fans are the ones stoking this, but random Lightning fans will still accuse the Isles of whining about their, um, handsomely paid roster.) [Newsday]
- Between games, Barry Trotz spoke of the heartache so many teams experience before going all the way. It’s not always a first-round sweep, but that happens too. [NY Sports Day]
- Will Nassau County hold a Game 5 watch party? There is a push. [Newsday]
I understand why the Lightning were starting stuff, strategically and to reanimate their own bored pulse; it’s ironic when people act like the Dirty Bad Islanders are the ones doing all the silly stuff. So, quite to see them instigate at the final horn too, a decision Anthony Cirella may regret.
36 year old Travis Zajac showing Dad strength and dominating 23 year old Anthony Cirelli in that scrum. His finest moment of the game came after it ended #Isles— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) June 16, 2021
That Power Play Though
The Bolts didn’t score any of their power play goals from a traditional setup against Carolina & I’m not expecting that to change based on how that last one went.— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) June 16, 2021
The Lightning power play showed its ability to pull the Islanders out of their PK structure by having different guys switch around. It’s impressive to watch. It also makes me wonder, if the Lightning make it to the next round, whether Vegas will steal their lunch like they did to the similarly power play-dependent Avalanche.
Hopefully we never have to find out.
The West, er, other semifinal continues tonight in Vegas with Game 2 against Montreal.
- A no doubter as Oskar Lindblom wins the Masterton Trophy. [NHL | Broad Street Hockey]
- Canada is behind the U.S. in vaccination delivery, which is why health experts are urging great caution with how many fans to allow into the arena in Montreal. [TSN]
- Still not official word on Gerard Gallant and the Rangers, but a “team source” is now acknowledging the reports are true. [NHL]
- 31 Thoughts: Dougie Hamilton, Norris voting, oh and how can the Islanders’ run relate to the Canadiens? [Sportsnet]
- But forget about the final four, what I wanna know is what is Zach Hyman worth on the open market? [Sportsnet]
- Yet again we must discuss how it’s a pivotal offseason for the Bruins. [NHL]
- Looking back at the Vancouver riots that followed the Canucks’ Game 7 loss 10 years ago. That was also the only time Brad Marchand won it all, by the way. [Sportsnet]