Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There is one playoff game scheduled for Wednesday and there was one Tuesday.
There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Wednesday:
Montreal Canadiens at Vegas Golden Knights (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Golden Knights and Canadiens are set for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals with the Golden Knights holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Vegas is looking to extend its winning streak to six games, which would match its longest postseason run set last season. The Golden Knights defeated the Canadiens 4-1 on Monday in Game 1 with defenseman Shea Theodore scoring a goal and an assist and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury making 28 saves. The loss for the Canadiens was their first in three weeks after a seven-game winning streak that dated back to a 4-0 loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup First Round on May 25. They rallied from down 3-1 in the series to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 31 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Islanders need to regain their discipline
The New York Islanders’ 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals on Tuesday was a reminder of what can happen when they give the Lightning too many opportunities on the power play. Limiting the Lightning to two chances with the man-advantage in Game 1 was one of the keys for the Islanders in their 2-1 victory Sunday, but they gave the Lightning five of them Tuesday. That’s playing with fire against Tampa Bay, which is second in the NHL during the playoffs with a 39.5 percent conversion rate behind the Colorado Avalanche (41.4 percent). The Islanders killed off the first three power plays until Victor Hedman scored on the fourth to increase the Lightning’s lead to 4-1 at 9:17 of the third period. Facing three power plays in the third also cut into the time the Islanders had to try to come back. “Tonight, we kept them at 20 percent, which is half the rate that they usually hit at,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “So, yeah, we just can’t take that many.” — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Lightning disrupt the Islanders’ structure
The Lightning found ways in Game 2 to get the Islanders running around a bit in the defensive zone chasing the puck. They even were able to stretch them out through the neutral zone, forcing the Islanders to come out of their typically strong defensive structure. That’s how teams have to defeat the Islanders, force them out of their comfort zone. The Lightning did that with puck possession and, on occasion, through transition, like forward Ondrej Palat‘s goal at 13:15 of the second period. It started with a stretch pass out of the defensive zone from Hedman to forward Nikita Kucherov. The stretch pass was a non-factor in Game 1, but the Lightning were able to move the puck quickly through the neutral zone more effectively in Game 2. Kucherov got the puck and bought time for Palat to trail into the offensive zone by drawing two defenders to him. That got the Islanders out of structure and left Palat open in the high slot. The Lightning also got the Islanders to take penalties in their defensive zone because of how well they managed the puck and moved it around. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
About last night
There was one playoff game Tuesday:
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, New York Islanders 2: Brayden Point scored in his fifth straight game, giving him an NHL-leading 10th goal in the playoffs, to help the Lightning even the series. Kucherov had three assists for the Lightning, who avoided losing consecutive playoff games for the first time since the 2019 Eastern Conference First Round and are 12-0 in the postseason following a loss dating to Game 4 of the series, the longest such run in NHL playoff history. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period, when the Lightning got a goal from Point (8:58) and the Islanders answered with one from Brock Nelson (13:30). The Lightning pulled away with Palat scoring at 13:15 of the second and Jan Rutta adding the eventual game-winner at 2:16 of the third. Hedman scored at 9:17 on the power play to widen the lead. Mathew Barzal got the Islanders closer at 16:44 of the third, but their winning streak ended at four games.
Stanley Cup Semifinals news
The Lightning used a familiar formula to defeat the Islanders in Game 2 of the Semifinals, reports senior writer Dan Rosen.
Staff writer Tom Gulitti explains how the Islanders lost Game 2 with a turnover and penalties.
Video: Game highlights of the Lightning’s 4-2 win against the Islanders in Game 2 on Tuesday.
The Fantasy Hockey staff shares their Stanley Cup Playoff pool rankings.
Here’s the complete schedule for the Stanley Cup Semifinals.