EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning’s bid to get by without two of the team’s top forwards fell short after losing 5-3 to the New York Islanders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Lighting were without Brayden Point, who was ruled out just minutes before taking the ice on Friday, and Alex Killorn, who was suspended for his hit on Islanders’ Brock Nelson the previous game.
The Islanders scored first after a goal from Cal Clutterbuck about 13 minutes into the opening faceoff.
The Bolts tied things up near the end of the first period after a Mikhail Sergachev took advantage of a Yanni Gourde assist to find the back of the net.
Tampa Bay then fell on a 3-1 hole at the end of the second period after goals from New York’s Adam Pelech and Anthony Beauvillier.
In the third period, the Lightning’s Ondrej Palat scored on an assist from Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev cut the Islanders’ lead to one.
Lightning’s Tyler Johnson tied the game up at around 8 minutes left in regulation after redirecting a shot from Erik Cernak, assisted by Carter Verhaeghe. Lightning fans briefly held their breath when officials reviewed Johnson’s goal to see if the Tampa Bay forward had his stick raised too high. Fortunately for the Lightning, Johnson’s goal was upheld and both teams were briefly tied at 3-3.
Brock Nelson helped the Islanders regain the lead 4-3 after a goal with less than four minutes left in the game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau later scored on an empty net to extend New York’s lead to 5-3.
The Lightning will once again have to play out the series without captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos remains out with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
- Game 1: Lightning 8, Islanders 2 Final
- Game 2: Lightning 2, Islanders 1 Final
- Game 3: In progress
- Game 4: Sunday, September 13, 3 p.m. ET
- Game 5*: Tuesday, September 15, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 6*: Thursday, September 17, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 7*: Saturday, September 19, 7:30 p.m. ET
* = if necessary
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The Lightning secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference bracket after finishing second to the Philadelphia Flyers in round-robin play. Tampa Bay beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team the Lightning got swept by in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, in five hard-fought games.
After exorcising their playoff demons against the Blue Jackets, the Lightning rode Ondrej Palat’s hot hand and a game-winning goal in double overtime from Victor Hedman to take down the Boston Bruins in five games.
Palat enters the Eastern Conference Final with a four-game goal streak, dating back to Game 2 against Boston.
The New York Islanders locked down the sixth seed in the conference after taking down the Florida Panthers in four games in the qualifying round. New York went onto beat the Washington Capitals in five games in the first round and then took down the first-seed Philadelphia Flyers in seven games to advance to the conference final.