Lightning turn Game One into a highlight show

by Gary Shelton on September 8, 2020

in general

Point scored two goals in the Bolts' victory./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Start with the reasons that it was so lopsided. Follow with the suggestions of why you should still pay attention.

The Islanders were tired, okay? They had just finished a seven-game series against Philadelphia. They had to travel the day before. The stars were not properly aligned.

On the other hand, wowie. The Lightning put on a highlight show in the first game of the Eastern Conference final Monday night.

By the time the fireworks were complete, the Bolts had won an 8-2 decision over the New York Islanders. Granted, it was one game (everyone always points that out), but what a game it was.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Kucherov continues to see the ice well./TIM WIRT

For the Bolts, the prevailing hints were many. They were faster than the Islanders. They passed more crisply. They found space as they sped through the neutral zone. They roughed up New York's starting goaltender, and then they roughed up his backup.

No, you can't win more than one game at a time. But if confidence means anything, if momentum means anything, the Bolts are clearly ahead in the race.

“You’ve got to take advantage of a tired team," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "Let’s be honest. This is a one-off.  They had to grind out a seven -game series and travel and play and change time zones. We got to get some rest.

"Let’s make no mistake here. It's very doubtful we're going to see scores like this. We gave up some chances, our goaltender made some saves, pucks happened to go in for us. We look at this as solely a Game One win. It’s just one game. now. This is a game we need to take and we did. Now it should be one hell of a series moving foward.”

Who starred? Heck,who didn't. Brayden Point scored two goals and had three assists. Nikita Kucherov also had five points (a goal and four assists). Yanni Gourde had two goals. Ondrej Palat scored again. Victor Hedman had a goal and three assists. Kevin Shattenkirk had three goals. The power play was three-for-six. Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 11th game of the post-season.

Point now has eight goals in the playoffs.

"He’s really on command of his game," Cooper said. "When you play the right way, I truly believe good things will happen to you, and that’s what that kid does.”

Point and Kucherov combined for 10 points in the game.

"Start with extremely high hockey IQs," Cooper said. "They play the game with pace. They think about the game in similar ways. In this league you need a duo."

Point said he wasn't fooled by the score.

"That counts as one win." Point said. "They had a tough game sven and a travel day and played tonight. We got a lot of bounces and things went well for us. We can’t hang our hats on that one. We’ve got to come back in Game Two."

The Lightning plays New York again on Wednesday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m.

Previous post:

Next post: