Tavares, Prince lead Islanders past Lightning 5-3 in Game 1
TAMPA, FLA. >> Shane Prince scored twice during a three-goal first period and John Tavares had a goal and an assist in the New York Islanders' 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.
Taking up where he left off in helping the Islanders advance beyond the first round for the first time in 23 years, Tavares assisted on Travis Hamonic's goal that erased an early deficit and later scored his sixth postseason goal on a blistering shot from the left circle to give New York a 4-1 lead midway through the second.
The Islanders needed overtime to get three of four victories against the Florida Panthers in the opening round. This one was never seriously in doubt after New York wiped out the 1-0 lead Tampa Bay took on Ondrel Palat's goal just over three minutes into the game.
Tampa Bay pulled to 4-3 on third-period goals by Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula before Cal Clutterbuck's empty-netter sealed the victory in the final minute.
Thomas Greiss, who won one game in overtime and two in double overtime against Florida, finished with 33 saves for the Islanders. They were outshot 28-10 over the last two periods.
Game 2 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was superb in allowing no more than two goals in any of Tampa Bay's five games against Detroit in the opening round. He yielded four in 13 shots to the Islanders before replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Tampa Bay entered the series following a six-day layoff, but the benefit of the extended rest was debatable after the Islanders overcame the early deficit to take a two-goal lead into the first intermission.
Prince scored twice in the final 2:32 of the opening period, camping out alone in front of the net to deflect a pass from Strome through Bishop at 17:28 and beating the Vezina Trophy finalist again with a wrist shot from the right circle with 2.1 seconds remaining .
New York built the 3-1 lead despite failing to take advantage of its first two power play opportunities. Given a third chance with a man-advantage, the Islanders struck with Tavares to make it 4-1.
That ended Bishop's night.
Notes: Islanders coach Jack Capuano took a puck to the face during the third period, but returned to the bench before the end of the game. ... The Islanders' three-goal opening period ended Bishop's streak of allowing two or fewer goals in eight consecutive playoff games, dating to last year. New York C Josh Bailey did not play after leaving the team's first-round clinching victory with an upper body injury. ... The Lightning are still without injured captain Steven Stamkos, D Anton Stralman and RW J.T. Brown.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.