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Rapid Reaction: Gutsy Islanders Force Game 7 with Dramatic Overtime Win

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New York Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The New York Islanders defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime to force a Game 7. The best-of-seven series

How it Happened: Anthony Beauvillier won the game in overtime after he stole the puck from Blake Coleman in the offensive zone and then fired the puck by Andrei Vasilevskiy just inside the slot. The goal was Beauvillier’s first since Game 1 against the Boston Bruins and completed a comeback for the Islanders who found themselves down two goals by the middle of the second.

Jordan Eberle backhanded a shot from the slot to cut New York’s deficit to 2-1 at 14:22 of the second period. Scott Mayfield tied the game in the third period with a tough angle shot with 8:44 left to play in the game. The Islanders defenseman took a shot from the side of the net, beating Andrei Vasilevskiy over his left shoulder and tucking the puck into the top shelf of the net. The goal was Mayfield’s second of the postseason and helped force the game to overtime.

Tampa Bay found the back of the net first on Wednesday night. Naturally, it was Brayden Point who put Tampa up by one at the 16:02 mark of the first period. Point scored in his ninth consecutive playoff goal when was able to slide the puck past the extended leg of Semyon Varlamov. Tampa extended their lead in the second period after killing off a five-on-3 Islanders power play. Anthony Cirelli took a lead pass from Ondrej Palat and got behind the Islanders’ defense to bury the goal through Varlamov’s five-hole to make it 2-0 at 12:36 of the second.

Varlamov made 22 stops in the OT win, while Vasilevskiy stopped 25 shots for Tampa.

Big Game Beau: Anthony Beauvillier has had a habit of scoring a big goal or two on Nassau Coliseum ice when the New York Islanders first moved back to the Long Island venue. Wednesday was now the biggest of his career. Beauvillier had struggled for most of the series and hadn’t scored since the opening game of the Islanders Second-Round series with Boston, which meant it had been 11 games since he scored. But when the Islanders need him most he found a way to contribute, He forced the turnover in the Tampa Bay end and then buried the shot past Vailevskiy, who is not easily beat.

Never say Die-Landers: New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz emphatically talked about the Islanders character ahead of Game 6 on Wednesday. They backed it up Wednesday night with as gutsy a performance as they could have mustered this season. The Islanders had not played a poor game in Game 6, but for the first 40 minutes, they struggled to make the most of their best chances. Instead of getting down on themselves, the Islanders dug deep as they had done before and rallied in the final 20 minutes. First Mayfield buried a shot from a tough angle to tie the game and then when they found themselves having to kill off a late-game penalty, the Islanders remained calm as they have always been.

The Coliseum Doors Stay Open: While it’s not guaranteed that the Nassau Coliseum will get another two games on its historic ice before the Islanders move to UBS Arena, the Islanders gave their fans plenty of hope. Similar to what occured in 2015, the Islanders gutted out a win and sent their fans home happy with one more Coliseum win. Now they’ll need to pull out a win in Tampa to guarantee some more time at the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.

Straight to the Point: There is no denying the dominance of Brayden Point in the series. He had the Islanders’ number just about every time he was on the ice and found a way to put the puck in the net in every way possible. On Wednesday night it was a strong effort behind the Islanders net to force Pelech to turn the puck over and then he worked his way back to the front to be there to pick up the loose puck and slid it in.

Up Next: The Islanders and Tampa Bay will return to Florida for Game 7 at Amalie Arena on Friday at 8 p.m.

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