Kucherov and the Lightning take on New York with 1-0 series lead


Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brayden Point (21) scores on New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period of an NHL Eastern Conference final playoff game, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

EDMONTON (AP) – The disparity was clear on Tampa Bay’s opening goal, when Brayden Point burst up the left wing, sped around defenseman Ryan Pulock, drove to the net and wrapped the puck around Greiss. Point, with two goals and three assists, and Nikita Kucherov, with a goal and four assists, set franchise records for most points in a playoff game.

Of the 35 shots the Lightning took, only one missed the net, while 12 were blocked. That’s a tremendous departure from how the Islanders finished Game 7 against Philadelphia. The Flyers misfired on 11 of 27 shots directed at the net, and had another 22 blocked.

The Lightning, coming off a near-weeklong break, acknowledged they took advantage of a tired opponent. They won’t have a similar edge for Game 2.

“Obviously, they get a day to reset, probably clear their heads,” defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “Some of those games get easier to brush off your shoulders when you lose by a big margin like that. So we’re certainly going to be ready for a much better team.”

The Lightning have won five straight since losing Game 1 of their second-round series to Boston. The winning streak, the team’s longest in the playoffs since 2016, also includes a 7-1 rout of the Bruins in Game 3.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said the margin of victory wasn’t any sort of statement.

“If you want to make a statement game, that’s all fine for now. But it’s really only a statement if you can follow it up in Game 2,” he said.

“So if we come there and lay an egg tomorrow night and it’s 1-1, what kind of statement did we make?” Cooper added. “Let’s make a statement and be even better than we were last night and see where the chips fall. It’s a good first step, but just one little step.”

NOTES: Trotz said there’s a possibility checking-line forward Cal Clutterbuck will play Wednesday. Clutterbuck didn’t return after limping off midway through the second period, when he took Mikail Sergachev’s slap shot off his right ankle. … The Islanders’ only other six-goal margin of defeat in the playoffs came in a 6-0 loss to the Rangers in 1994. … The Lightning were the first team to score eight times in a conference finals series since Chicago’s 8-2 win over Edmonton in Game 1 of the 1992 Clarence Campbell Conference finals.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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