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Lightning loses first game of series to Islanders as Ben Bishop pulled

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The Tampa Bay Lightning started off their second-round playoff series Wednesday night by stubbing their collective toe.

The Lightning wasted their home ice advantage in dropping a 5-3 decision to the New York Islanders, including two goals in two minutes and 29 seconds.

For all the discussion about the team’s five days off since the Detroit series, coach Jon Cooper pointed out that the first few minutes could not have gone better for the Lightning. They scored 3:05 into the game on a goal by Ondrej Palat and seemed to be sailing.

But Travis Hamonic scored to tie the game with 5:44 to play in the first period, and then Shane Prince scored twice at the end of the period. (Obligatory Prince reference: When Bolts cry.)

The Islanders scored a fourth goal in the second period by John Tavares.

“What hurt us was giving up two goals in the last 2 ½ minutes,” said Cooper. “It’s 1-1, and you’re plugging along. Then you go into intermission and it’s 3-1. It burned us. We gave up a goal with three seconds left. We were kind of soft in those last few minutes.”

The Lightning pulled within 4-3 in the third period, but an empty netter sealed the game for the Islanders.

“Obviously, it’s not the first time this has happened,” said goaltender Ben Bishop, who was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. “We have to worry about the game behind, not this one.”

Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning.

Tampa Bay tries to draw even in the series Saturday.

“There’s a reason it’s a seven-game series,” said Tyler Johnson.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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