John Tavares and Thomas Greiss are willing the New York Islanders to playoff win after playoff win. Three days after the Islanders star center and goalie led them to a first-round win over the Florida Panthers, they teamed up again to take Game 1 of the second round over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tavares had the game-winning goal and an assist and Greiss made 33 saves in New York’s 5-3 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Tavares got some help offensively in Game 1 from an unlikely source. Shane Prince, he of the six regular-season goals, scored twice in the first period and helped to quickly erase the early 1-0 lead the Lightning had taken.
Tavares scored his league-leading sixth goal of the playoffs in the second period to put the Islanders ahead 4-1. Hours after being named a Vezina Trophy finalist, Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was yanked after the Tavares goal. He allowed four goals on 13 shots.
At the other end of the ice, Greiss fared much better. He was at his absolute best in the second and third periods. The Islanders were outshot 11-5 in the second and 17-5 in the third while clinging to the lead. The Bolts got two third-period goals to make it close but Greiss held the fort until the Isles iced it with an empty netter.
There was a scary moment in the third period when Islanders coach Jack Capuano was hit with a puck. He was hit in the nose on a dump-in attempt and went straight to the Islanders dressing room.
He returned late in the third period to see the Islanders hang on for the win.