What an interesting game. There were three distinct segments during the first two periods that featured severe momentum swings. The Lightning completely dominated the first period and built a 2-0 lead. The Islanders thoroughly controlled the first 15 minutes of the second, tying the score. Then, the Lightning regained momentum for the final five minutes of the frame, erupting for three more goals to break the game open.
The first period was likely the most dominant period the Lightning have had all season. Not only did they outscore the Isles, 2-0, and outshoot them, 11-2, they had a 25-3 advantage in shot attempts. Holding the opposition to just three shot attempts in a period is hard to do. It illustrates just how much puck possession the Lightning enjoyed in the opening 20 minutes. It started with a goal for Brayden Point on the opening shift (answering, in a way, the opening shift goal the Islanders scored in the last meeting between the clubs). That tally sparked the Lightning, who were, by a wide margin, the hungrier team in the first period.
But the roles got reversed at the start of the second period. Suddenly, the Islanders were the hungrier club. That disparity led to lots of puck possession for New York, shots and scoring chances. During the first 15 minutes of the second, the Isles hit multiple posts, buzzed around the Lightning net and scored twice to tie the game. If not for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who finished with 15 second period saves, the Islanders might have grabbed the lead.
But once again, the roles would reverse after the Lightning received a power play chance with 5:09 left in the period. Following a shot from Mikhail Sergachev that went wide of the net and ricocheted back in front, Yanni Gourde slid in the rebound and the Lightning regained the lead. Just as drastically, momentum switched back to the Lightning. They added two more goals before the period ended - and nearly scored on two others.
The momentum surges coincided with faceoff prowess. When the Islanders were controlling play for much of the second, they built a big faceoff advantage. At one point in the second, they were winning the faceoff battle, 18-11. But as the Lightning surged late in the frame, they won 10 of the final 11 faceoffs in the period.
The third period was less of a roller coaster - Chris Kunitz adding a sixth goal early in the frame might have had something to do with that. The Lightning now have started their four-game homestand with a pair of impressive wins over the Sharks and Islanders.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Gourde's second period PPG.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Yanni Gourde - Lightning. Two goals.
- Ryan Callahan - Lightning. Assist.
- Mathew Barzal - Islanders. Goal and assist.