Overtime Goal Blows Roof Off of “The Barn”
The New York Islanders were facing elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, so was the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, “The Barn.” The blue and orange faithful did it’s best to help their team. The building was loud and the fans were ready to do their part. Unfortunately for the fans, the Lightning were ready to do their part as well.
Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point brought his scoring streak to 9 consecutive playoff games by plowing his way in front of the New York net to poke the puck past Islander goalie Semyon Varlomov to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead with just under 4 minutes remaining in the first period. After the intermission, Anthony Cirrelli scored just over 7 minutes into the second period to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead. The Lightning had out scored the Islanders 12 goals to 0 over the last 8 periods of play. Tampa Bay goaltender Alexei Vasilevskiy had stifled every attempt thrown at him by New York. Elimination appeared to be knocking on The Barn door. That was true until 1 minute and 46 seconds later.
Jordan Eberle took an amazing backhand shot over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy to give the Islanders their first goal in nearly 3 games. The Barn went wild. The momentum shifted. The Tampa Bay goalie was human. We have a game.
The Islanders shifted into a higher gear from that point on. Mathew Barzal, who was lucky to even be playing after facing a suspension, put on a skating clinic in the 3rd period. With just over 9 minutes remaining in regulation, Barzal set up defenseman Scott Mayfield, who fired a rocket to the top of the net to tie the score at 2-2. The Nassau Coliseum crowd came unhinged. Both sides played stifling defense. The game was destined for overtime.
Game 6 overtime against the Lightning had a bad memory attached. Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirrelli eliminated the Isles in the same game last year...That was in The Bubble. This one was in The Barn. Anthony Beauvillier of the Islanders made short order of overtime, scoring just 68 seconds into the extra period. Somehow, in the excitement, Islander fans thought sending beer cans flying onto the ice was OK. It’s not but I understand the situation and I think the Islander players did too.
So the series goes back to Tampa on Friday night for Game 7. The possibility of another New York Islander game at The Barn still lives on.