Mishkin's Extra Shift: Islanders 5, Lightning 3

by 24USATVSept. 12, 2020, 7 p.m. 21
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As compared to their play in Game Two, the Lightning were sharper in a number of areas during Game Three. They owned more puck possession. They posted more shots. They enjoyed long, extended offensive zone shifts. They were creative in making plays and generating good looks at the New York net.

One reason why the Lightning were able to prevail in Game Two, however, was that they limited the number of Grade-A scoring chances against, especially during even-strength play. They did it by playing sound defensive hockey without the puck. And, if they made a mistake, they recovered quickly enough to prevent the Islanders from turning that error into a glorious scoring chance.

But in Game Three, they did make some critical mistakes, both with and without the puck. And the Islanders made them pay for those miscues.

It's true that the Lightning caught a tough break on the first New York goal. During a shift in which the Islanders were applying pressure in the offensive zone, Andrei Vasilevskiy's right pad came loose. The official elected not to blow the play dead. As a result, Vasilevskiy was trying to simultaneously follow the play while positioning the pad back on his leg. Moments later, Ryan Pulock took a shot from the top of the right circle. It was blocked, but it caromed cross-ice directly to Cal Clutterbuck, who rifled the puck over Vasilevskiy's stick. The loose pad and unlucky ricochet off the block factored in the goal against. But at the start of the sequence, the Lightning had an opportunity to gain control of the puck and clear it. But they turned it over instead - and the Islanders eventually capitalized.

The second Islanders goal came 34 seconds after a Lightning penalty had expired. The Lightning did well to kill the infraction, but once back at full strength, they never cleared the zone. Shortly before Adam Pelech's goal, the Lightning had possession of the puck with an opportunity to get it out, but failed on the attempt. Moments later, the puck was in their net.

Two minutes later, the Islanders scored their third goal. With the teams skating four-on-four, the play began with a Lightning offensive zone turnover. The Islanders countered on a two-on-two rush and generated a Grade-A look when the Lightning defensemen lost coverage on Anthony Beauvillier. He finished his chance from the top of the crease.

And finally, after the Lightning had rallied to tie the game with two third period goals, they made their final, costly mistake. With under four minutes left in the third, the Lightning didn't manage the puck well in their own end and committed an unforced turnover. Brock Nelson held the puck in and eventually scored the game-winner off Beauvillier's cross-ice feed.

The Islanders have shown throughout the playoffs their ability to make plays and score goals. They will cash in on opposition errors. As Jon Cooper stated afterwards, the Lightning "gift-wrapped" this one.

Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):

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