That old adage that hockey goals most often come within moments of another score was on full display for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. With the Islanders fighting for their playoff lives, the Lightning may have blown a pair of leads, but their unrelenting speed and aggressiveness won the day, and the game 7-4.
Twice the Lightning scored pairs of back-to-back goals within 30 seconds of each other. Both changed the lead of the game for Tampa Bay, and the last helped cover up the team's second blown lead of the game. Like Colorado on Thursday, if the Islanders miss the playoffs, this loss might be the one they look at as the X factor.
We've hit that point in the season where games start to mean more and more to the teams hovering on the playoff bubble. The Avalanche found out what happens when leads get squandered on Thursday, and while both the Islanders and Lightning had their share of blunders, it was ultimately New York that couldn't hold on.
Since losing starting netminder Jaroslav Halak to injury, the Islanders have gone 2-5-2 and have seen their Metropolitan Division standing suffer. Now they're in the crosshairs of the Flyers with a struggling defense that hasn't done any favors for backup Thomas Greiss. Add that onto the fact that for the third time in nine games, they've allowed over 35 shots in a game -- with the 42 given up to Tampa Bay the greatest so far -- and there's no doubt they're in trouble.
With the win, Lightning are now one step closer to locking up a playoff berth. In doing so, they opened the door just a bit wider for the Islanders to fall out of it.
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3 things we learned
1. The Lightning won, but at what cost?
Sure, Tampa Bay won a big hockey game, but they've lost a big piece in their system as Anton Stralman is now out indefinitely after a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula. In short, this happened:
Anton Stralman's injury... pic.twitter.com/hvCYT2OruW— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) March 26, 2016
Ow, ow, triple ow.
2. Can you remember your first NHL goal? Joel Edmundson can't
First goals are always memorable. However, Blues rookie Joel Edmundson might want to watch it again, as he said he "blacked out" after scoring his first career NHL goal on Friday.
Now you, too, can commit it to memory over and over!
3. One-goal games are more boring than not
Sometimes you get really good tight games. Friday's game between the Capitals and Devils? Absolute snoozefest. Braden Holtby blanked the Devils and John Carlson had the one-timed overtime winner as the Devils sink further out of playoff contention. It was exactly as boring as it sounded.
Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood did well for himself in just his third career NHL start in between the pipes. He may have had some help against Alex Ovechkin, but who doesn't need it against one of the NHL's most potent scorers?
Stat of the Night
Brian Elliot has helped the Blues clinch a playoff berth with his recent stretch of stellar play.
Brian Elliott has 3 consecutive shutouts, since returning from injury. Now hasn't allowed a goal in 180:34 of play.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 26, 2016