The reports of Steven Stamkos’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.
After the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game Four loss, there was some questions about the captain, Steven Stamkos. His offense had been held in check for most of the series and their were lingering questions as to if he was nursing an injury. After his performance in the Lightning’s 8-0 victory over the New York Islanders those questions have dissipated into the ether.
Stamkos and Alex Killorn led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist each while Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and Luke Schenn added goals. For Point it was his eighth game in a row with a goal, the second longest playoff streak in NHL postseason history, bettered only by Reggie Leach’s 10-game streak in 1976. Nikita Kucherov didn’t get in on the goal fest, but he did pick up three helpers to run his point streak to 8 games and now has 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in the playoffs.
At the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 21 shots he faced for his third shutout this postseason. The Lightning are now 12-0 following a loss over the past two seasons, simply phenomenal.
The goals came early and often for the Lightning as they were much cleaner in their own zone and their breakouts took the Islanders defense by a bit of surprise. There were countless odd-skater rushes in the first period. While the first two goals were products of lucky bounces, a lot of that luck came from Tampa Bay executing their game plan.
For the first time all series the Islanders looked frustrated and it resulted in a tsunami of power plays. The Bolts capitalized on three of their six power plays, including a lengthy four-minute span at the start of the second period after Mathew Barzal was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for roughing Jan Rutta.
Rather than detail that entire game, because we would be here all night, here are the eight goals the Lightning scored.
Steven Stamkos (Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli)
Yanni Gourde (Blake Coleman)
Alex Killorn (David Savard)
Steven Stamkos (Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov) Power Play
Ondrej Palat (David Savard, Nikita Kucherov)
Alex Killorn (Victor Hedman, Brayden Point) Power Play
Brayden Point (Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos) Power Play
Luke Schenn (Pat Maroon, Ross Colton)
That was fun, but it was just one win out of the four the Lightning need to advance. The slate is clean on Wednesday and the Bolts can expect to see the best effort from the Islanders.