NHL Playoffs Today: Islanders seek to even series


The Vegas Golden Knights evened their series with the Dallas Stars after an underwhelming Game 1 loss. Can the New York Islanders do the same in the Eastern Conference after being shelled 8-2 by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday?

Check out ESPN NHL Playoffs Today every day of the postseason until the Stanley Cup is handed out in October.

Wednesday’s game

Game 2: No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 7 New York Islanders (TB leads 1-0) | 8 p.m.

“The road is not always the same. It’s structured with all these twists and turns,” said Islanders coach Barry Trotz. The message to New York after that 8-2 loss in Game 1 was that the Lightning scored on practically every chance they had, which isn’t sustainable; that the analytics said the game was closer than that at 5-on-5, and they do indicate the Islanders actually had the advantage in possession and scoring attempts in the first and third period. Trotz said the Islanders examined what went wrong, but most importantly took a mental break on Tuesday.

Question of the day: How will the Islanders respond to that Game 1 thrashing?

The Lightning defeated the Islanders 8-2 in Game 1 of their series, and looked incredible in the process. It’s the first time New York has trailed in a series in the restart, and they’ve lost three of their last four playoff games.

“It was a strange game,” said coach Barry Trotz. “We’re just regrouping a little bit. You try to catch up. You play a Game 7, you fly, you come back, you’re trying to get ready for another team, trying to muster the energy to play a very good Tampa team.”

Mathew Barzal of the Islanders said he liked his team’s attitude after their humbling loss in Game 1, because “we knew it wasn’t acceptable.”

Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk predicted Tampa will face a different Islanders team in Game 2. “They get a day to reset, probably clear their heads, and some of those games kind of get easier to brush off your shoulders when you lose by a big margin like that,” he said. “So we’re certainly going to be ready for a much better team. We know the type of style they play and, obviously, the type of energy they can bring. We’re happy with the game and the win, but we certainly don’t feel like we’ve accomplished anything yet.”

Bet of the day

Lightning vs. Islanders over 1.5 second period goals (-140). The Islanders have scored 20 goals in the second period this postseason. The Lightning have scored 16, and have scored nine of them in their past four games.

About last night …

Vegas Golden Knights 3, Dallas Stars 0 (tied 1-1)

The Stars dominated Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. The Vegas Golden Knights returned the favor in Game 2. They dominated in possession in the first period. They dominated the scoreboard in the second period, with goals by Paul Stastny, William Karlsson and Tomas Nosek. In the third period, goalie Robin Lehner did the rest, with 12 saves en route to 24 for the game. “We outcompeted them today and played a hell of a game,” said Lehner. Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 27 shots for Dallas and was pulled after two periods, as Stars coach Rick Bowness hoped it would spark his team. “Anton was the only reason it was 3-0. Without Anton, that’s 6-0 after the second period,” he said. Full recap.

Three stars

1. Robin Lehner, G, Vegas Golden Knights

This is the 22nd time in NHL history that a goalie has posted four shutouts in a single postseason. Only five goalies have recorded five or more shutouts, and none have done so since the 2005 lockout.

2. Paul Stastny, C, Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas forward scored the game’s first and most critical goal, and picked up a secondary assist on William Karlsson‘s power-play goal to make it 2-0.

3. Jake Oettinger, G, Dallas Stars

Oettinger entered the game in the third period and saved all five shots he faced. Not many goalies can say they made their NHL debut in the conference final. In fact, he became the first goalie of the NHL expansion era to make his NHL debut in the round leading into the Stanley Cup Final.

Quote of the day

“We were snake-bitten for a while there and think everybody was gripping their stick a little tight. We’re at our best when we have that swagger and we’re making plays and tough to defend. It was nice to get that mojo back tonight and even the series.” — Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson, when asked by ESPN about the bravado lacked in Game 1 but had in Game 2.

Social post of the day

Hockey Hall of Famer Dave Andreychuk scuba diving at an aquarium with a Tampa Bay Lightning flag? Hockey Hall of Famer Dave Andreychuk scuba diving at an aquarium with a Tampa Bay Lightning flag.

NHL Awards Update

Dampy Brar won the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, given annually to an individual who – through the sport of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.” Fans submit nominees and then Mr. O’Ree and the NHL select the winner.

Brar, alongside Lali Toor, co-founded Apna Hockey, an initiative that provides a network and support for South Asian hockey players. He worked with Hayley Wickenheiser and the Wickfest team in 2018 to bring the first-ever women’s hockey team to Canada from Leh Ladakh, India. Other nominees were Alexandria Briggs-Blake (Tucker Road Ducks Hockey) and John Haferman (Columbus Ice Hockey Club).

Up next: One of the more compelling races this season, it’s the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year (as voted on by members of the NHL broadcasters association). Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers are the finalists.

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