Jordan Eberle kept the New York Islanders season alive.
The Islanders forward scored 12:30 into double overtime to lead New York to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5. The victory cuts Tampa Bay’s series lead to 3-2.
Eberle’s game-winner was just his second of the series and came off a feed from Anders Lee. Kevin Shattenkirk whiffed on a shot, which led to an odd-man rush for the Islanders.
Lee charged up the ice with Eberle and then fed the winger for the game-winner.
“The boys battled hard tonight,” Eberle said. “We had some moments in the D-Zone, especially in overtime, where we had a broken stick. Collapsed and just held on to wait for our chance. Obviously to score that and continue to move on and give ourselves another chance in a couple of days is huge.”
The goal capped the wild evening just before the clock struck midnight and came at a time when both the Islanders and Eberle needed it the most.
Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves in the double-overtime affair and Ryan Pulock also scored for New York. The game was the fifth-longest game in Islanders history.
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Tuesday night’s Game 5 was filled with plenty of drama. Islanders coach Barry Trotz opted to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen and then overtime produced several tense moments.
The Islanders had to finish killing off a double minor for high stick by Anthony Beauvillier. New York killed the four minutes worth of penalty time.
“That was a huge kill for us because our season was on the line,” Varlamov said. “Today when we go into overtime you give up one goal and your season is over. You go on the (penalty kill) and you try to do whatever you can to make the save or stop the shot. The guys did an unbelievable job battling through in those moments.
Later they found themselves hemmed into their own zone with Anders Lee not having a stick. They eventually managed to clear the puck.
The Islanders went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill in Game 5 and capitalized on of their three power-play chances.
“Our guys didn’t waiver,” Trotz said. We kept grinding and grinding. You can get some energy from (the win), there’s no question. We’ve had some heartbreakers. We lost three overtime games to Philly. Double overtime, we lost a game late here, but this group keeps getting off the floor and refuses to give up. That’s a great sign going forward.”
The New York Islanders struck first with their second power-play goal of the series. Pulock fired a blistering one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy at 15:41 to give New York the 1-0 advantage.
Tampa Bay evened the game at one four minutes into the second period. Victor Hedman buried a rebound shot from the top of the slot to eliminate the Islanders’ lead.
It looked as though Tampa Bay had taken the lead later in the period when Carter Verhaeghe. but the goal was overturned after Trotz challenged it for offsides. It was quickly determined that Cedric Paquette had been way offsides before Verhaeghe scored.