Stanley Cup Recap: Lightning Don’t Quit, OT Win Pushes Islanders to the Brink

Jason Garrison's overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Second Round Series. Tampa Bay leads the series 3-1. (Photo: lightning.nhl.com)

The New York Islanders went to work Friday night trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Second Round Series and when it was over, they found themselves trailing 3-1 as Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison sent a missile of a slap shot from the blue line past Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss 1:34 into overtime giving Tampa Bay the win.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders

New York set the tone early with its speed and a strong defensive game. However, it was a power play goal that put the Islanders in the lead 4:20 into the game.

Frans Nielsen had the puck along the left wing in the Tampa Bay zone. He passed it back to an Islander defender at the point, who returned the disc back to Nielsen, the winger carried the puck to the hash marks and moved it into the corner to Nikolay Kulemin, who found Kyle Okposo in the high slot and hit him with a perfect pass. Okposo unleashed a wrist shot from inside the left faceoff circle beating Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop over his glove hand and the Islanders had a 1-0 lead.

New York sent 16 shots at Bishop but that was the only one to get past him. Bishop’s teammates managed just six shots at Greiss.

Tampa Bay’s effort in the first period was a source of frustration for coach Jon Cooper and he said as much when he told NBCSN commentator Pierre Maguire that his team, “didn’t bring our ‘A’ game.”

Cooper’s squad increased its pace and began finding its ‘A’ game in the second period. The Lightning tightened up its defensive game and began finding seams to move the puck for breakouts allowing for faster zone entries. As a result, they landed 11 shots on goal.

It was the Islanders turn to land six shots on the Lightning puck stopper in the second period.

With no scoring in the second period, the Lightning were expected to come out flying for the third period but the start of the period was delayed. The Zamboni bumped into the boards while resurfacing the ice and dislodged a portion  of the boards. The Barclays Center ice crew repaired the boards but the teams sat for 31 minutes between the sessions.

The third period was a more evenly played one with each team getting scoring chances and it was Tampa Bay that took advantage of a chance at the 7:49 mark when Nikita Kucherov ripped a wrist shot past Greiss to tie the game at 1-1 setting up the overtime and Garrison’s game-winner.

“It says a lot about the team, I think,” Garrison said about the Lightning’s come from behind win. “A lot of character. Guys don’t quit.”

Bishop turned 27 shots aside in recording the victory.

The teams will pack their bags for Tampa where the Lightning can wrap up the series at Amalie Arena on Sunday (3:00 pm ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Series Notes:

Kucherov leads the NHL with 8 goals in the playoffs.

The game was the 14th overtime contest of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Islanders required overtime in four of their first five playoff games at Barclays Center.

Stat of the Night:

Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Lightning own the highest win percentage (.769) in playoff overtime road games in Stanley Cup playoff history (minimum of 2 games played).

Saturday’s Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule:

Game 5 – Western Conference Second Round Series – St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (1:00 pm ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports)

Game 5 – Eastern Conference Second Round Series – Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (7:15 pm ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports)

Game 5 – Western Conference Second Round Series – Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks (10:00 pm ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports)

Follow ESPN New Hampshire NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.

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