New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey probably would have woken up Wednesday in a much better mood had he and his teammates been able to win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning the night before.
Bailey scored two goals and came within a brilliant glove save by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop of a hat trick in Tampa Bay's 5-4 overtime win at Barclays Center. Bailey missed the previous two games because of an upper-body injury sustained in Game 6 of the first round against the Florida Panthers,
The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is at Barclays Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
Bailey had one assist in his first six Stanley Cup Playoff games but opened the scoring in Game 3 at 7:55 of the first period. Nikolay Kulemin poked the puck from the left boards into the slot and Bailey shot it past Bishop for his first goal in 22 games, including the regular season.
Video: TBL@NYI, Gm3: Bailey buries loose puck past Bishop
Bailey gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal 2:27 into the third period when he one-timed Thomas Hickey's pass from below the goal line past Bishop.
Tampa Bay tied the game 58 seconds later on a goal by Vladislav Namestnikov, but Cal Clutterbuck gave the Islanders their third lead of the game with 8:37 left in the third period.
Again, though, the Islanders couldn't protect the lead. Nikita Kucherov tied the game with 38.4 seconds remaining and Brian Boyle scored 2:48 into overtime.
"I'd feel a lot better if we found a way to close that out," Bailey said. "It doesn't matter if you have a great game or a bad game; when it's all said and done you refocus and get ready for the next one."
Bailey, the Islanders' first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2008 NHL Draft, had 32 points in 81 regular-season games. He knew he was capable of more and he showed it Tuesday. Now it's matter of sustaining that success.
"I've always felt that way," Bailey said. "[But] it's about the team. It's never been about one guy. It's all of us pulling together here. We've got such a tight-knit group that really cares about one another.
"We had a chance to close it out, and we didn't. Now it's about how you respond."
Video: TBL@NYI, Gm3: Bailey beats Bishop on the power play
Islanders coach Jack Capuano said he was pleased to have Bailey's veteran presence back in the lineup for Game 3. He was even more impressed by his performance.
"You got a leader back," Capuano said. "He was out there for a little while and he was ready to play. [He was] questionable for Game 2 [in Tampa], but he came back and gave us a huge lift. I thought he played really well, got us a couple of big goals. I was really happy and pleased with the way Josh played.
"I know what Josh's capabilities are. It doesn't surprise me that he scored two goals. You just look at his stats year in and year out, he produces, and he's reliable defensively. It doesn't surprise me that he came in there and gave us a boost. That's what veteran guys do. He came in [and] he did the job."
Bailey nearly completed the hat trick in the third period. Twenty-eight seconds after Clutterbuck gave the Islanders a 4-3 lead, Bailey sent a wrist shot from the slot that seemed destined for the top right corner, but Bishop took it away with a dazzling glove save.
Bishop finished with 35 saves, including 16 in the first period. Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss made 36 saves.
"He's a great goalie; there's no secret about that," Bailey said of Bishop. "Two great goalies. We should have found a way to seal it before it got to overtime. It's unfortunate.
"We obviously had chances to put them away. We're disappointed in that. It's all part of the playoffs. You have these swings and momentum and ups and downs, and it's all part of the ride. Tomorrow's a new day and we'll be ready for Friday."
Video: TBL@NYI, Gm3: Bishop flashes the leather on Bailey
A win for the Islanders on Friday would even the series, which shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Sunday. Should Bailey have a similar performance to the one he had in Game 3, the chances of the Islanders tying the series would increase dramatically.
"He was flying," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "You could see some of those days [off] were real good for him. He was able to get healthy and get some rest. He was probably our best forward out there, really. He made a lot happen."