The odds were stacked against them from the start. Yet, in typical Lightning fashion, they made it work.
Down two forwards in an 11-7 adjusted lineup, the Lightning defeated the Islanders, 2-1, on Wednesday night in Edmonton, Alberta, for a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference final. Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead for good with an assist from Ryan McDonagh in the final nine seconds of the game.
Unlike Monday's 8-2 rout, nothing came easy for the Lightning. New York's Matt Martin got on the board early to open up the scoring.
Things continued to worsen as Alex Killorn took a boarding penalty on Brock Nelson, which also resulted in a game misconduct. Tampa Bay had to continue the game with 10 forwards.
Victor Hedman gave the team some energy heading into the first intermission with the tying goal thanks to an assist from Barclay Goodrow with 1:35 remaining in the first period. With the goal, Hedman now leads all defensemen in the league with seven in the postseason (one goal ahead of Vegas' Shea Theodore).
About six minutes into the second period, things took a turn for the worse as Brayden Point went down the tunnel with an injury.
Almost 40 minutes went by before Kucherov clinched it.
With the goal, Kucherov tied his postseason points mark from 2015 with 22 points logged so far in the 2020 playoffs (six goals, 16 assists). He is tied for fifth among the franchise's top scorers in a single postseason.
Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at www.tampabay.com(c)2020 Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.