After the New York Islanders win Game 6 on Wednesday night, the NHL is officially two wins away from the Montreal Canadiens and Islanders playing for the Stanley Cup – though the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning may have something to say about it it can happen.
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Game on Thursday
Game 6: Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens | 8 p.m. ET (Canadians lead 3-2)
The Golden Knights either win or go home as they try to win on Saint Jean Baptiste Day in Montreal. As expected, coach Pete DeBoer is cautious about whether his starter will be Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner, the latter of whom won an outstanding game in Montreal in Game 4.
But it may not matter who is in goal if Vegas can’t use offense. The Knights have scored 11 goals in the series, and only one of them comes from one of their top five regular-season goalscorers. If they can’t assert themselves offensively against the Habs, they’re toast.
Because of last night
New York Islanders 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (OT) (Series 3-3)
The Islanders put on a formidable rally to avoid the Lightning’s elimination, winning Anthony Beauvillier’s goal with 1:08 overtime. Goals from Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead, but New York found new life with a goal from Jordan Eberle just a minute and 46 seconds after the Lightning added pad in the second period.
Scott Mayfield – who may have injured Tampa Bay star Nikita Kucherov with a cross check on his first shift of the game – tied at 11:16 a.m. in the third period. In what could have been (and still could be) the final game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Islanders sent their fans into a beer-throwing frenzy with the OT win.
“I love this group, the character of this group. And the building, these fans. When you walk off the ice, everyone hugs each other, there are beer cans all over the ice. These are great memories,” said coach Barry Spy, “but we have to get another one. ” Complete summary
Three stars of the night
1. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, New York Islanders
– NHL (@NHL) June 24, 2021
Beauvillier was looking for a hell of a good time to break out of his point breakdown. He hadn’t scored a goal since Game 1 against the Boston Bruins in the preliminary round. He had taken one point in his last six games. But he scored the biggest goal of the playoffs to date for the Islanders, took advantage of a Lightning giveaway and sent the Islanders to Game 7.
2. Brayden Point, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
Point scored his own goal in the first period to score the goal: he forced a rally from Islanders defender Adam Pelech, then played a short pass from Anthony Cirelli to defeat Semyon Varlamov. It was Point’s ninth straight playoff game with a goal, just one of the way to break the Flyers’ 1976 NHL record for Reggie Leach of the Flyers. He also had an assist for Cirelli’s goal.
3. Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders
The last time we saw Barzal, he was kicked out of Game 5 in Tampa to check the face of Tampa defender Jan Rutta. But in Game 6 he was a force: Barzal had the main assists in the goals of Eberle and Mayfield and was active every time the puck was touched, even in the second period he took a penalty. A statement game after a mistake in Game 5.
Saturation of the day
– Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) June 24, 2021
Islanders fans tossed beer cans and water bottles on the ice as the team celebrated their win in game 6 in extra time. They did so at least 15 minutes after the game ended in a ritual pouring over of the Colosseum egg, in what may still be the last game played there.
quote of the Day
“Feels awesome, to be honest. When I went to OT, the building smelled like cigarettes and now it smells like beer.”
– Islanders OT hero Anthony Beauvillier
Injury of the day
THE REF IS HERE!
– CHRIS TORELLO (@TorelloSports) June 24, 2021
Referee Chris Lee took a good look at the countercheck provided by defenseman Scott Mayfield for the Islanders on Nikita Kucherov’s first shift of the game. Kucherov resumed his shift and tossed a check to the Islanders forward Mathew Barzal. Eventually he doubled over in pain and then left the ice for the coaching room.
Kucherov didn’t return after playing just 46 seconds in the Lightning defeat and only getting the ice into the game 2:22. Lightning trainer Jon Cooper gave no update on his status.
“It sucks to lose Kuch so early in the game. The boys fought. We played the rest of the game briefly,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos of his team-mate, who leads all playoff scorers with 27 points in 17 games .
Fan of the day
– Damien Woody (@damienwoody) June 24, 2021
Our friend Damien Woody really caught the spirit of the matter.