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Rapid React: Relentless Islanders Upset Lightning in Game 1

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals on Sunday at Amalie Arena. The Islanders hold a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series.

How it Happened: Mathew Barzal opened the scoring for the Islanders and the series in the second period. Steven Stamkos’s ugly turnover at the offensive blue line allowed Josh Bailey to spring Barzal for a breakaway. Barzal put the puck through Andrei Vasilevskiy’s five-hole at 12:32 of the second.

After Not scoring a goal through the first eight games of the postseason, Barzal has now scored in four of the Islanders’ last five games.

The New York Islanders doubled their lead in the opening minutes of the third period off a blast from Ryan Pulock at the blue line. Brayden Point found the back of the net in the closing minutes of the game with Tampa Bay on the power play to cut New York’s lead to one.

Goaltender Duel: The story of this series will be goaltending, and that certainly held true on Sunday. Semyon Varlamov got the better of Vasilevskiy in Game 1. Varlamov made 30 saves in the win, and he was 53 seconds away from his first shutout of the playoffs. Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots but missed the two that hurt the most for Tampa Bay, including a shot from Pulock that he should have had. Varlamov’s only goal against came with Tampa Bay on the power play, and their goaltender pulled. Varlamov went save-for-save against the Vezina Trophy finalist, which included a sharp save on Brayden Point followed by Stopping the rebound chance by Steven Stamkos seconds later.

Turnovers Galore: Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of Sunday’s Game 1 was the miscues by Tampa Bay. Stamkos’s turnover led to the New York Islanders’ first goal of the game, but in the second period, there were more than a few that led to chances for the Islanders. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Tampa Bay had turned over the puck seven times compared to just one by the Islanders.

Up Next:  The series remains in Tampa Bay for Game 2 on Tuesday (8 p.m.) at Amalie Arena.

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