EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to avoid another playoff overtime after a late goal from Nikita Kucherov in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Lightning now control the series with a 2-0 lead over the New York Islanders after Tampa Bay's dramatic win in regulation on Wednesday night.
The Islanders drew first blood less than 90 seconds into the opening faceoff after Matt Martin found the back of the net.
Near the end of the first period, Lightning's Victor Hedman's slapshot put Tampa Bay on board, tying the game at 1-1.
Kucherov then scored with about nine seconds left in regulation.
New York took the ice in much better form after being clobbered by Tampa Bay 8-2 in Game 1.
The Lightning will once again have to play out the series without captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos remains out with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
- Game 1: Lightning 8, Islanders 2 Final
- Game 2: Lightning 2, Islanders 1 Final
- Game 3: Friday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 13, 3 p.m. ET
- Game 5*: Tuesday, Sept. 15, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 6*: Thursday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 7*: Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET
* = if necessary
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The Lightning secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference bracket after finishing second to the Philadelphia Flyers in round-robin play. Tampa Bay beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team the Lightning got swept by in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, in five hard-fought games.
After exorcising their playoff demons against the Blue Jackets, the Lightning rode Ondrej Palat's hot hand and a game-winning goal in double overtime from Victor Hedman to take down the Boston Bruins in five games.
Palat enters the Eastern Conference Final with a four-game goal streak, dating back to Game 2 against Boston.
The New York Islanders locked down the sixth seed in the conference after taking down the Florida Panthers in four games in the qualifying round. New York went onto beat the Washington Capitals in five games in the first round and then took down the first-seed Philadelphia Flyers in seven games to advance to the conference final.