The Lightning got another strong performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy and just enough offense to defeat the Islanders 2-1 in Thursday's Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
Tampa Bay now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 and takes back home ice advantage after dropping the series opener at Amalie Arena.
The Bolts struck first, getting a goal from Yanni Gourde just past the midway point of the first period. Blake Coleman followed the rebound of his own shot down into the corner and threw the puck toward the crease. The puck took a deflection off Nick Leddy, landing on Gourde's stick at the far post and he quickly fired the shot past Semyon Varlamov.
The second period didn't go nearly as smooth for Tampa Bay, with the Islanders beginning to apply serious pressure in the latter half of the frame.
The Lightning were hemmed in their own zone for long stretches of the period and finally surrendered the lead at the 17:01 mark. With the puck sitting to the side of the net, Erik Cernak tried to move it back towards Vasilevskiy, hoping he could cover and get a whistle. Instead, it pinballed around the crease and ended up being jammed home by Cal Clutterbuck to tie the game at one.
Having just given up a bad goal to lose the lead, the Bolts had lost all the momentum but were given a chance to change the game's momentum when Adam Pelech was called for interference on Nikita Kucherov late in the second.
Just as the penalty expired, Victor Hedman's shot deflected off two Islanders and came to Brayden Point in the slot. Casey Cizikas delivered a two-handed shove to Point's back, but he managed to sweep the puck into the net while falling to the ice to give Tampa Bay the lead for good. Point has now scored in six-straight games for the Bolts.
The third period was all about defending the lead for the Lightning. Tampa Bay only managed five shots on goal in the third but also only called on Vasilevskiy to make eight stops.
Vasilevskiy finished the night with 28 saves. He's now gone four-straight games without allowing more than two goals.
The two teams will be back at Nassau Coliseum for Game 4 on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
TBL | 10:05 Yanni Gourde (3) - Blake Coleman, Erik Cernak
NYI | 17:01 Cal Clutterbuck (4) - Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas
TBL | 19:40 Brayden Point (11) - Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov