The Identity Line was awesome. The other Islanders lines? Not so much.
The Islanders dropped Game 3 of their Stanley Cup semifinals series to the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, who now hold a 2-1 lead and recaptured home ice.
The team that wins Game 3 of a Stanley Cup semifinals series goes on to claim the series 78-percent (89-25) of the time. Game 4 is Saturday night in what could be the last game the Islanders play in the Nassau Coliseum.
The defining moments came late in the second period. With the Identity Line doing the dirty work, Cal Clutterbuck tied the score, 1-1, at 17:01, with line mates Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas getting assists.
The roof was about to come off the Coliseum. But the Islanders didn’t close out the period and instead of going into the third period tied, 1-1, they were down, 2-1. Brayden Point scored his playoff-leading 11th goal with 18 seconds left before the break.
It is one of the truths in hockey that when a team is scored on, it will make a big push back. Happens almost every time. It did this time.
The Islanders have to get more out of their top lines if they expect to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Point scored a point for the sixth straight game.
The Islanders didn’t get a lot from their first lines although Kyle Palmieri was stoned by Andrei Vasilevskiy about seven minutes in. The Islanders got 23 saves from Semyon Varlamov who was pulled with about 1:45 left but the Lightning never allowed a quality scoring chance.