Sports

Islanders stay alive with thrilling Game 6 OT win over Lightning

For the Islanders, there’s still a tomorrow.

Intercepting a Lightning turnover just over a minute into overtime Wednesday night, Anthony Beauvillier blasted the puck from the slot, immediately dropped to his knees and slid into a dog pile of a celebration as the Islanders stole a 3-2 win in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup semifinal at Nassau Coliseum — the historic arena that can still hang on to its hopes of hosting its first Cup final series since 1984.

Game 7 is set for Friday in Tampa at 8 p.m., when the defending champions will face elimination for the first time in the past two seasons.

“One of four teams still playing, it’s a privilege to still be playing this time of year,” Beauvillier said moments after beer cans rained down on the ice.

“As a kid, you imagine going to Game 7 and having good moments with your teammates. I think we earned the right to go play a Game 7.”

Anthony Beauvillier celebrates his game-winning goal for the Islanders.
Anthony Beauvillier celebrates his game-winning goal for the Islanders.
Corey Sipkin

Trailing 2-1 at the start of the third, not even Mathew Barzal’s wizardry with the puck or a power-play opportunity at 8:15 that brought the entire Coliseum crowd to its feet resulted in a goal for the Islanders.

But a Scott Mayfield snipe to the top corner on Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy blew the roof off of the Old Barn and knotted the game 2-2 with 8:44 left in regulation.

The Islanders then had to fend off the Lightning’s thunderous power play, which was without the NHL’s leading point scorer in the playoffs Nikita Kucherov — who went to the locker room after one shift following a cross-check from Mayfield — shortly after the game-tying tally. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov came up with three big stops on the way to a 22-save finish, including one on a one-timer from Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, to allow the Isles to ultimately force overtime.

Improving to 17-5 in elimination games at the Coliseum, the Islanders are also now 3-2 when their season is on the line under head coach Barry Trotz.

“It’ll be up there with one of the best because of the situation,” he said when asked where Wednesday’s win would rank in his 23-year tenure as an NHL coach. “The group that is playing right now, I love this group, this building and what it’s meant to a number of players. But probably more than anything, our fans. These are great moments.

“Going off the ice and everyone’s hugging each other, there’s beer cans all over, it’s quite a sight. These are moments you’ll remember and great memories to have. But we have to get another one.”

New York Post back page for Thursday, June 24.
New York Post back page for Thursday, June 24.
NYP

Prior to Game 6, the team that scored first had won each game this series. The Lightning ensured they were the ones to strike first Wednesday, with Brayden Point — because, who else? — putting Tampa Bay on the board at 16:02 of the first for his ninth-straight playoff game with a goal. The Lightning were also 11-1 this postseason in contests in which they scored first.

After Anthony Cirelli’s score at 12:36 of the second counted as the 12th unanswered goal for the Lightning at the time, Jordan Eberle finally ended the Isles’ scoring drought at 116:25, backhanding one past Vasilevskiy to cut the deficit to 2-1.

“We knew we were gonna get one and go from there,” Beauvillier said. “We got one, felt the energy, got another one in the third. We played really well, a lot of character in this room.”

nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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