Lightning seize 3-1 NHL playoff series edge on Islanders

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Ondrej Palat and Blake Coleman scored 12 seconds apart in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning put the New York Islanders on the brink of Stanley Cup playoff elimination with a 4-1 win on Sunday.

Palat finished with a goal and an assist and Brayden Point returned from injury to score his ninth of the playoffs as the Lightning seized a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

Nikita Kucherov and Yanni Gourde both had two assists and Patrick Maroon scored into an empty net for the Lightning.

Game five is Tuesday in the COVID-19 quarantine bubble in Edmonton, Canada.

Point was injured in game two and and missed game three of the series with an undisclosed injury but wasted no time getting into playoff mode as he and Kucherov lead the team in scoring. Point has 25 points, including nine goals, in 16 playoff games and Kucherov has 19 assists and 25 points in 17 games.

Point scored 3:33 into the third from in close to break game four open for Tampa, giving the Lightning a 3-1 lead.

Palat did all the heavy lifting on the goal, deftly kicking the puck to Kucherov in the center zone then getting the it back and passing cross ice to Point, who was left wide open in front of the goal after Isles forward Mathew Barzal skated past.

Point had plenty of time to take two chops at the puck and beat Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Brock Nelson opened the scoring for the Islanders at 11:27 of the second period to make it 1-0, setting off a quick succession of goals by both teams.

Just 15 seconds later, Coleman broke loose and scored on a breakaway to tie it. Palat then finished off a beautiful three-man passing play at 11:54 of the second.

The scoring spree took just 27 seconds, making it the third fastest three-goal combined stretch in playoff history.