Braydon Level and the well-rested Tampa Bay Lightning resembled a refreshed group keen to come back off an prolonged break after switching cities within the NHL playoff bubble.
The New York Islanders, then again, appeared predictably travel- and game-weary.
Level scored twice and added three assists in an 8-2 romp over the Islanders to open the Jap Convention finals on Monday night time. Nikita Kucherov had 4 assists, and scored his 34th profession playoff aim to maneuver one forward of Martin St. Louis for first on the franchise listing.
The Lightning confirmed no indicators of rust following a close to week-long break after eliminating the Boston Bruins of their second-round sequence with a 3-2 double-overtime win on Aug. 31. They as a substitute resembled a refreshed group by scoring thrice on 9 photographs to construct a 3-1 lead by the 10:46 mark of the primary interval, and matched a franchise report for many objectives scored in a playoff recreation.
The Islanders, by comparability, got here out flat, wanting like a group that spent Sunday flying to Edmonton, Alberta, from Toronto, a day after a 4-Zero win over Philadelphia in Recreation 7 of their second-round sequence.
WATCH | Kucherov begin beautiful aim:
“Let’s be trustworthy, this can be a one-off. They needed to grind via a seven-game sequence after which journey and play and alter time zones,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper stated.
“Now we’re on even phrases. There isn’t any journey. Everybody will get the identical relaxation,” he added. It is easy to say now that the sport turned out the best way it did. Backside line is, you have to benefit from a drained group. Let’s be trustworthy, this was a one-off.”
Level and Kucherov’s five-point nights set a franchise playoff report. Yanni Gourde scored twice, Victor Hedman had a aim and two assists and Ryan McDonagh and Ondrej Palat additionally scored for the second-seeded Lightning.
WATCH | Lightning dominate Isles in Recreation 1:
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves, and the Lightning have gained 5 straight, matching their longest playoff run since 2015.
Recreation 2 is Wednesday.
Thomas Greiss, who stopped 16 photographs in incomes his first post-season shutout on Saturday, was yanked after giving up three objectives on 9 photographs. He was changed by Semyon Varlamov, who gave up 5 objectives on 25 photographs.
Jordan Eberle briefly tied the sport at 1 with a power-play aim for New York, the one remaining group that performed a preliminary spherical elimination sequence. Nick Leddy’s third-period aim briefly reduce the Lightning result in 6-2.
Islanders captain Anders declined to make use of the group’s quick turnaround as an excuse.
“We have been via journey and transitions like this common season playoffs, all earlier than, so it simply takes a couple of minutes to get your legs going just a little bit and then you definately settled in,” Lee stated. “I do not suppose that was indicative of the entire recreation.”
The eight objectives allowed matched a franchise low, following an 8-Three loss to the New York Rangers within the Islanders’ second playoff recreation on April 10, 1975.
“Each time we made a mistake, they scored,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz stated.
The opening aim mirrored the disparity in relaxation between the 2 groups.
Level opened the scoring 74 seconds in by bursting up the left wing, getting a step a round Ryan Pulock, driving to the web and wrapping the puck round Greiss.
Hedman stated the aim offered the Lightning an instantaneous carry.
“Clearly, we have not performed for per week, and we have been pondering how the beginning was going to be, after which Pointer does that,” Hedman stated. “I believe he set the tone from the beginning.”
After Eberle scored, the Lightning struck for 2 objectives on consecutive photographs, coming 2:34 aside.
Hedman, from the blue line and arrange by Level’s no-look cross, blasted a shot contained in the left submit with Greiss screened by Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn for a power-play aim. Then McDonagh beat Greiss excessive on the quick aspect from the left circle.
Level prolonged his level streak to seven video games, during which he is mixed for 4 objectives and 12 assists. He additionally has a degree in 13 of Tampa Bay’s 14 playoff video games this 12 months.
The Lightning piled on by scoring twice within the second interval, together with a delayed aim scored by Gourde following an NHL video overview as play progressed. The horn was blown 14 seconds after Gourde’s shot crossed the aim line and bounced off Islanders defenceman Andy Greene’s stick, which was within the internet.
Islanders checking-line ahead Cal Clutterbuck briefly returned to the bench however didn’t play within the third interval. He limped off halfway via the second interval, after taking Mikail Sergachev’s slap shot off his proper ankle.
Trotz had no replace on Clutterbuck’s standing.
Frustration additionally set in late within the second interval, when New York’s Mathew Barzal angrily slammed his stick on the glass following a missed scoring alternative.
No constructive COVID-19 assessments for sixth straight week
The NHL had no constructive COVID-19 assessments for the sixth straight week, the league introduced Monday.
A complete of two,534 assessments have been administered from Aug. 30-Sept. 5, with all 52 members of every membership’s touring events, together with gamers, examined each day.
The variety of assessments administered dropped from 4,644 two weeks in the past as groups have been eradicated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs and left the bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto.
Simply 4 groups — the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders — stay within the Stanley Cup playoffs, all of them now housed in Edmonton because the season nears its finish