Bolts blast Islanders in another rebound game

by Gary Shelton on June 22, 2021

in general

Stamkos had an impressive game for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

It comes down to this. If the New York Islanders are going to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, they will have to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning twice in a row.

Good luck with that.

This Lightning team doesn't lose two games in a row.

At least, the Bolts haven't lost two playoff games in a row over the past two post-seasons. Ten times, Tampa Bay has stumbled, and 10 times, they've come back to win. Beat them down, and you just tick them off.

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It happened again Monday night. The Bolts were coming off a disappointing loss and were facing the Islanders in a crucial Game Five of the series. And the Lightning clobbered the Islanders, winning 8-0 -- a franchise record for the widest margin of victory in franchise history.

That gives the Bolts two shots at closing out New York -- Wednesday in Long Island and Friday (if needed) at home.

There is something about losing that refocuses this Lightning team, that makes it snarl and bite. Those times, when the opposition believes it has a chance, are the moments the Lighting has shown why it is a champion.

“It’s a certain a response and a mindset," said forward Steven Stamkos. "It starts with our goalie. Vasi is just has an amazing ability to bounce back, whether he plays great or he doesn’t play great . Most of the time he plays great, but if we lose, he takes it personally. He was great tonight. The whole group, when we don't play our game, we have an ability to break down the tape, realize what we’ve done wrong and make the corrections.

"That comes with experience, which we have, and it comes with maturity. We know when we don't play our best, we’re going to bring it the next night."

And they did. Know how each game features three stars? Well, there weren't enough stars to go around in this one. The Lightning deserved a constellation or two.


-- Stamkos had two goals and an assist, including his first goal of the series 45 seconds into the game. It came just as the questions of "what's wrong with Stamkos began.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper's response to that was "it's just a matter of time." On Monday night, he said, "it was time."

"Stammer has played well," Cooper said. "I think people think that if he’s not scoring, he’s not contributing. That’s not the case. It’s a hard league to score in. He’s done it better than almost anyone in his generation."

-- Alex Killorn also scored two goals and had an assist.

-- Brayden Point scored for the eighth straight playoff game. Only one man in NHL history -- former Flyer Reggie Leach -- has ever had a longer streak (he had 10 in 1976).

-- Nikita Kucherov had three assists.

-- Andrei Vasilevskiy had his fourth playoff shutout, and his third of this post-season. He made 21 saves. It was his 11th victory of the post-season.

Somewhere along the line, the three goals the team allowed to New York in second period of Game Four were erased.

"We’re a proud group," said Cooper. "It wasn’t in our DNA for that to happen. I think our response carried over to tonight."

The Bolts scored three goals in the first period, three in the second and two in the third.

Also scoring goals for the Bolts were Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Luke Schenn.

The Bolts try to close out the series on Wednesday night in Nassau Coliseum. The announced time for the puck drop is 8 p.m.

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