Game 5 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders was an absolute blowout, with Tampa taking a 3-2 series lead in an 8-0 win. Hopefully, Game 5 between the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens back in Sin City is a more competitive affair.
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Nicolas Roy arguably saved the Knights' postseason with his overtime goal in Game 4 in Montreal. "It's a huge swing game, but it's only a swing game if we take advantage of it. It's a two-out-of-three series now, with two of the games in our building," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. The goal gave goalie Robin Lehner a well-deserved win, as he got the start over Marc-Andre Fleury and had a stellar 27-save effort.
Two big questions for Vegas in Game 5: Does Lehner get another start here? Probably. And will the Knights get top center Chandler Stephenson back in the lineup to spark the struggling Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty? DeBoer says his return is "on the horizon."
About last night
Well, that was emphatic. The Lightning owned Game 5 from the opening minute, as Steven Stamkos scored just 45 seconds into the game. Yanni Gourde banked a shot in off Andy Greene of the Islanders to make it 2-0. Alex Killorn tucked a puck past Semyon Varlamov to make it 3-0, and end the goalie's night.
It was Stamkos again at 5:42 of the second period on the power play, followed by a deflection goal by Ondrej Palat 10 minutes later. Killorn struck again on the power play to make it 6-0 at the end of two, but the Lightning weren't done. Brayden Point scored their third power-play goal of the game 1:59 into the third period, and defensive defenseman Luke Schenn even got in on the scoring to cap the 8-0 blowout.
"A loss is a loss this time of year. Whether it was in double overtime or the way it went tonight. We'll wake up tomorrow down 3-2 and with our backs against the wall," said Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri. "But we have a chance to win a game at home. That's all we're focused on right now." Full recap
Three stars of the night
Stamkos had two goals in the rout, including his first goal since Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes. This breakout performance, which included an assist, came after questions about his health earlier in the day, before the game. "I'm not going to get into that sort of stuff," Stamkos said. "I'm out there like everyone else, trying our hardest to win every single night. At this time of year, you can go through many different [things] guys are battling through, that's why it's the toughest trophy in sports to win. If the guys are on the ice, it means they're good enough to go out there and help the team win, and that's our goal."
The rout was already very much on when Point made it 7-0 on the power play in the third period. But it gave him a goal in eight straight playoff games, becoming the second player in NHL history to do so. He's two goals from the record of 10 straight games with a goal, set by the Flyers' Reggie Leach in 1976. Point now has 35 career playoff goals. Only eight players in NHL history have scored more goals through their first 60 career playoff games than he has, and seven of them are in Hockey Hall of Fame members.
The star goalie was strong when they needed him to be, before Game 5 became a laugher. Vasilevskiy made 21 saves for his fourth career postseason shutout.
Quote of the day
"That's how the Hockey Gods work. You play great, you earn your bounces. No one expected an 8-0 game. Let's be honest there. But you earn everything you get."
-- Lighting captain Steven Stamkos
Major penalty of the day
Islanders star Mathew Barzal was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a crosscheck to the face of Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta at the end of the second period. The referees reviewed their initial call and confirmed it. Rutta took only one shift the rest of the game. This was Barzal's first major penalty of his career in either the regular season or the playoffs.
Chant of the day
At the end of their series against the Boston Bruins, the Islanders fans at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum chanted "We want Tampa!"
In Game 5, Lightning fans offered their response during the third period of the blowout, chanting: "You've got Tampa!"
Fan of the day
From the Islanders watch party at the Coliseum, someone didn't react well to the blowout.