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game recap

Kucherov, Lightning defeat Islanders in Game 2 of East Final, extend lead

Scores winner with nine seconds left; Tampa Bay's Point leaves game

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

Kucherov's game-winning goal

NYI@TBL, Gm2: Kucherov wins Game 2 with late tally

ECF, Gm2: Nikita Kucherov rips a one-timer to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead with 8.8 seconds remaining in the 3rd period

  • 00:49 •

Nikita Kucherov scored with nine seconds remaining in the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 2 to extend their lead in the Eastern Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday.

Ryan McDonagh found Kucherov for a one-timer from the right face-off circle.

"I made eye contact with [McDonagh]. I knew what he was going to do, and he probably knew what I was going to do," Kucherov said. "He made a nice pass across the ice, and all I had to do was hit the open net. [Heck] of a play by him."


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Lightning highlights]


Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for the Lightning, the No. 2 seed in the East. Tampa Bay has won six straight games since losing 3-2 to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the second round Aug. 23.

Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves for the Islanders, the No. 6 seed. He started after allowing five goals on 25 shots in 49:05 after starter Thomas Greiss was pulled in Game 1, which New York lost 8-2.

"We've lost some overtime games," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "This one's a little punch in the gut, and every time we've done that, we've got up. You saw us. We had our energy. We had our game today, and we just didn't get the result. I liked a lot of our game other than probably the last 30 seconds of that game."

Game 3 is in Edmonton, the hub city for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, on Friday (8 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Teams with a 2-0 lead are 329-51 (86.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 5-0 in the first two rounds this season.

Matt Martin gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead on the first shot of the game at 1:24 of the first period. Nick Leddy sent a pass out front from below the goal line for Martin, who scored with a wrist shot.

"It's a tough way to lose," Martin said. "We believed we could still win this series, and still do. Play like that, more often than not, you're going to win. After a blowout loss, I liked our response as a group. Obviously, we need results right now. We need to find a way to win hockey games. This one got away from us."

Video: NYI@TBL, Gm2: Martin buries feed from Leddy

Victor Hedman tied the game 1-1 at 18:25 of the first with a slap shot from the left point that went past a screen from Barclay Goodrow and off the left post. Hedman has scored a goal in four straight games.

"Up until that point, [the Islanders] pushed hard in the first," Hedman said. "We were a little bit on our heels, but we got that goal. Nothing fancy about it. We win a face-off and go to the net. The puck obviously had eyes, but we'll take it."

The Islanders had a 5-on-3 power play for 38 seconds in the third period after McDonagh was called for holding at 7:48 and Cedric Paquette was called for hooking at 9:10.

"When you have a 5-on-3, you want to capitalize," New York forward Brock Nelson said. "You have like 38 seconds, so plenty of time. You're hoping to get a look there. That can be a difference maker in the third."

Lightning forward Brayden Point left the game for undisclosed reasons at 7:14 of the second period after finishing his last shift at 5:23. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper did not have an update following the game.

Point scored five points (two goals, three assists) in Game 1, and his 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) are second in the NHL in the postseason behind Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon's 25.

Nelson returned to the New York bench as Point exited. Nelson left the game after he was hit into the boards in the first period by Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn, who received a game misconduct and a five-minute major for boarding at 5:55.

Without Point and Killorn, and using seven defensemen, the Lightning played with nine forwards.

"Rarely do you lose guys in a game, let alone two guys, early," Cooper said. "[Killorn] basically didn't play the entire game. Point maybe played a shift or two more. So that's a long stretch to go with just nine.

"It's a gutty, gutty effort. … In the end, it was gutty. That's what that effort was. It was just gutty."

NOTES: Lightning forward Ondrej Palat's five-game goal streak ended. He scored six goals during the streak, which was the longest in Lightning playoff history. … Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck had three shots on goal in 10:27 after leaving Game 1 at 11:36 of the second period after he blocked a shot. … Nelson said he felt fine after being seen by Islanders doctors and returning to the game. staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report

Video: Kucherov, Lightning win Game 2, 2-1

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