EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning could not have asked for a better start to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The second-seed Bolts blew out the sixth-seed New York Islanders 8-2 on Monday night.
Brayden Point put the Bolts on board after finding the back of the net via assists from Blake Coleman and Luke Schenn a little over a minute into the opening faceoff.
Islanders' Jordan Eberle answered with a goal for New York to tie the game a little over three minutes after Point's goal.
Victor Hedman then scored off an assist from Point and Nikita Kucherov to help Tampa Bay regain the lead a little after eight minutes into the first period. Ryan McDonagh, who missed some time in the previous round, scored off assists from Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev a little after 10 minutes into the opening period.
While it took an arena goal horn to get anyone -- even the guy taking the shot -- to notice, Lightning's Yanni Gourde was credited with a goal after replay showed his shot went past the goalie and crossed the plane.
A little over 13 minutes into the second period, Point scored his second goal of the game. Kucherov and Hedman were both credited with the assist in the goal that gave Tampa Bay a 5-1 lead at the end of the second period.
Kucherov scored five-plus minutes into the third period from assists from Point and Kevin Shattenkirk.
Nick Leddy scored in the third period to help the Islanders cut the Lightning's lead to 6-2.
Ondrej Palat continues to stay hot in the NHL bubble, scoring his sixth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs off assists from Point and Kucherov. Yanni Gourde piled on the points for the Bolts after scoring off assists from Shattenkirk and Hedman.
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: In progress
- Game 2: Wednesday, Sept. 9, 8 p.m. ET
- 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 Phildelphia Flyers in seven games to advance to the conference final.