Game 5: Islanders vs. Lightning (TB leads 3-1) – 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream): Tampa trailed for all of 15 seconds in Game 4 as Blake Coleman and Ondrej Palat responded to Brock Nelson’s second-period goal by scoring 12 seconds apart to give the Lightning the lead for good. Brayden Point scored in the third, followed by Patrick Maroon‘s empty-netter goal to complete the victory.
The engine that makes the Lightning go has been their top trio of Point, Palat and Nikita Kucherov. Point and Kucherov have 25 points this postseason, and Point (9) and Palat (8) are top-two on the team in goals. Andrei Vasilevskiy is now 13-4 this postseason with a 1.93 GAA and .930 SV% as he’s been in net the entirety of these playoffs.
What has been lacking for the Isles, especially compared to Tampa, is the production from the top line. Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle have combined for just one goal and six points this series. Made worse, the majority of that contribution is from early on this series and they’ve combined for one point in their last three games.
The Lightning are now a win away from making their third Stanley Cup Final appearance. They previously reached the Cup Final in 2004, which they won, and then lost in 2015. Tampa is up 3-1 for the third straight series after winning their third Game 4 of this postseason on Sunday. They won Game 5 to clinch their last two series, defeating Columbus and Boston in the first two rounds.