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game recap

Lightning score eight, defeat Islanders in Game 1 of Eastern Final

Point, Kucherov each has five points; Greiss pulled in first period for New York

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

Kucherov tallies on rush

NYI@TBL, Gm1: Kucherov, Point link up on the rush

ECF, Gm1: Nikita Kucherov collects Brayden Point's return feed on the rush and puts it by Semyon Varlamov, stretching the Lightning lead

  • 00:48 •

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each had five points for the Tampa Bay Lightning in an 8-2 win against the New York Islanders in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday. 

Point (two goals, three assists) and Kucherov (one goal, four assists) are the first players in Lightning history to have five points in a postseason game. 

Yanni Gourde scored twice, Victor Hedman had a goal and two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves for Tampa Bay, the No. 2 seed in the East, which played for the first time since Aug. 31. 

"Things are going well right now, but it's our team," Point said. "We're playing so well. We're playing with structure, we're playing responsible with the puck, we're making the right plays. I think our team has been so good." 

Thomas Greiss allowed three goals on nine shots for New York, the No. 6 seed, before being pulled at 10:46 of the first period. He was replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who made 20 saves. 

"This game, we'll wash it away," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We've lost some heartbreakers in overtime, some real hard matches and all that. Sometimes you get it handed to you like we did today."


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Lightning Game 1 highlights]


Game 2 is in Edmonton, the hub city for the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final, on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS). 

The team that wins Game 1 is 488-221 (68.8 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 10-2 in the first two rounds this season. 

"[The Islanders are] a proud group," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't expect them to roll over for us. It's just one game." 

Point gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 1:14 into the first period, driving across the crease and shooting past the outstretched pad of Greiss.

"We haven't played for a week, and you were wondering how the start was going to be," Hedman said. "And then [Point] went out and did that. He set the tone from the start, along with [Kucherov] and [Ondrej Palat] once again. They were unbelievable. But Brayden Point is taking this to another level, that's for sure." 

Jordan Eberle scored a power-play goal to tie it 1-1 at 4:33. 

"We know how they play," Eberle said. "It was just one of those games. They get a chance and we made a mistake. They get a chance, it ends up in the back of our net." 

Hedman gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 8:12 of the first, and Ryan McDonagh made it 3-1 at 10:46 with a slap shot through a screen. 

Video: Point, Kucherov help Lightning tie record in Game 1

Gourde got to a loose puck in the crease to extend the lead to 4-1 at 4:03 of the second period. 

Point pushed it to 5-1 by redirecting a shot from Hedman on a power play at 13:18. He has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) on a seven-game point streak. 

Kucherov made it 6-1 when he converted a centering pass from Point on a 2-on-1 at 5:51 of the third period. 

After Nick Leddy cut it to 6-2 with a snap shot at 8:46, Palat scored for the fifth straight game to make it 7-2 at 9:31. He has six goals during the streak, which is the longest in Lightning playoff history. 

Gourde scored a power-play goal at 13:15 for the 8-2 final. Tampa Bay was 3-for-6 with the man-advantage. 

"They definitely capitalized on a lot of [chances]," Leddy said. "They've got a high-end skill team, but we've just got to try to limit those as much as possible and really try to take away their time and space." 

NOTES: Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck left the game after blocking a shot at 11:36 of the second period. He briefly returned to the bench in the third before heading back to the locker room. No update was provided. ... Kucherov has 16 assists in 14 games, passing Martin St. Louis (15 in 2004) for the most in a single postseason in Tampa Bay history. … The Lightning's eight goals tied the most they have scored in a playoff game. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-2 in Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. … New York last allowed eight goals in a playoff game in an 8-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final, which the Islanders won in six games. … Point and Kucherov are the second set of teammates to each score five points in a conference final game. They joined Paul Coffey (one goal, five assists) and Jari Kurri (three goals, two assists), who did it with the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the 1985 Campbell Conference Finals. staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report 

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