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.