The New York Islanders forced the final showdown with a 3-2 overtime win over Tampa Bay Lightning with a goal from Kipker Anthony Bouvier on Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Sorel forward Tracy rocked the ropes to play the champ early in overtime after intercepting a pass to defeat Andrei Vasilevsky with a quick throw into the skylight, keeping his side alive in the series.
Brayden Point opened the scoring in the first half, netting the ninth in a row. He blocked a play behind the cage before accepting a pass from Anthony Cirelli and hitting Semyon Varlamov with a backhand. Thus, he came close to a goal scored by Reggie Leach, who lit the light in 10 consecutive games in the 1976 playoffs.
Cirelli added more in the second period. He survived thanks to a long pass from Ondrej Palat and tricked the goalkeeper with a quick shot between the pads.
Then the islanders began to return. Jordan Eberley narrowed the gap with a superb backhand out-of-pocket shot with just over five minutes remaining in the second half, setting the stage for a strong third spell for the New York side.
Barry Trotz’s men threw Andrei Vasilevskiy’s goal 11 times in the third frame and Scott Mayfield equalized at the end with just over eight minutes remaining. The defender hit Cerberus on the shoulder, and fired from a tight angle to the right side.
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Nikita Kucherov left the match after 46 seconds of play, having touched Matthew Berzal. Seconds earlier, the Russian player was subjected to a powerful double check by Mayfield, right in front of referee Chris Lee, who has been heavily criticized by the hockey world in the past few days for his decisions. During the Montreal Canadiens duels against the Vegas Golden Knights.
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