The New York Islanders won the first game of their series on Sunday night against defending Stanley Cup holder the Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1), in the semi-finals of the North American Ice Hockey Championship ( NHL). Brayden Point scored the defending champions’ only goal with 45 seconds remaining, to no avail: Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock had previously scored for the Islanders. They can also thank their Russian goalkeeper, Semyon Varlamov, decisive with 30 saves.
The Islanders resisted the Tampa Bay offensives and took advantage of the opportunities offered, especially on blocks. « I think that’s what we should do »Islanders coach Barry Trotz said on the official NHL website. “This win is good from a confidence standpoint because if you play your game you are successful. […] The guys were focused and knew what they had to do and they did it. «
His Florida counterpart Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay coach, regretted « Bad decisions » taken by his players. “You owe it to yourself to play as a team. We didn’t do it tonight ”, he lamented. The two teams had previously met at the same stadium in 2020, and Tampa Bay won the series 4-2. The next game in the series is scheduled for Tuesday, still at Amalie Arena in Tampa, while the other semi-final, between Las Vegas and Montreal, begins Monday night.