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Jordan Eberle, Islanders Avoid Elimination with 2OT Game 5 Win vs. Lightning

New York Islanders right wing Jordan Eberle (7) skates with the puck during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The New York Islanders aren’t going home yet.

Down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Final, the Isles forced a Game 6 with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Game 5 saw a massive rebound from New York after blowing a 1-0 lead Sunday en route to a 4-1 loss.

Jordan Eberle scored the game-winning goal 12:30 into the second overtime period as goaltender Semyon Varlamov came up with 36 saves in the victory.

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

🚨 THE CAPTAIN TO EBERLE 🚨 https://t.co/36uHmUQLrc

Notable Performers

Jordan Eberle, RW, New York Islanders: 1 Goal (Game-Winner)

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders: 36 Saves, 1 Goal Allowed

Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 Goal, 3 Blocks, 36:12 TOI

Blake Coleman, C, Tampa Bay Lightning, 1 Assist, 4 SOG, 9 Hits

NHL @NHL

That Ryan Pulock (@rpulock) shot is no joke. #StanleyCup

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Shattenkirk Error Springs Eberle Game-Winner

Kevin Shattenkirk is going to want this play back for quite some time.

The 31-year-old defenseman isn’t the only reason Tampa Bay lost Game 5, but it was his gaffe that led to the game-winner off Eberle’s stick. That it came on a play where everything went right except the timing will make it hurt even more.

After the Lightning won a face-off in the Islanders’ zone, Shattenkirk took the puck back at the blue line and prepared to fire a slap shot through a pile of seven players creating traffic in front of the net. It was absolutely the right decision.

Except he whiffed on the shot, getting some, but not all, of the puck and allowing it to slide right onto the stick of Anders Lee, who took off on a two-on-two with Eberle.

Making things worse for Tampa Bay, both Shattenkirk and his defensive partner Mikhail Sergachev overcommitted to the strong side of the ice, leaving Eberle alone with a wide-open net.

From there it was rather routine. Lee rifled a pass toward Eberle that the winger buried before Andrei Vasilevskiy could position himself to make what would have been his 23rd save on the night.

Instead, it was his second goal allowed on a night when the Bolts put 37 shots on net to the Isles’ 24 and sends the series to a Game 6.

Tampa Bay Go-Ahead Goal Waived Off

The second period has provided the most trouble of the series for the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final.

Game 1 saw Tampa Bay score two unanswered during the middle frame during an 8-2 rout. Game 4 brought more trouble with New York taking a 1-0 lead in the second before the Lightning scored two goals in 12 seconds to go ahead for good.

Tuesday nearly saw Tampa Bay take control in the second period once again. A video review changed that.

Midway through the second, Carter Verhaeghe caught a puck in the middle of the ice that allowed him to walk in on Varlamov and sneak one past him on the short side—similar to where Hedman took advantage on Tampa Bay’s first goal.

NHL @NHL

That would be Victor Hedman’s 8th goal of these #StanleyCup Playoffs.

And yes, you read that correctly… he has eight. EIGHT.

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If it seemed like the Lightning had too easy a line to the puck, well, Islanders coach Barry Trotz thought so, too.

New York quickly challenged the play, and an obvious offside was called.

The puck had entered the zone behind the referee, making it hard to see Cedric Paquette skating over the blue line a full stride before the puck crossed.

It was a great spot by Trotz and the Islanders coaching staff.

Instead of playing from behind with more than half of the game to go, New York picked up some momentum and was able to avoid having to take some riskier chances sooner than it would have liked.

At least on Tuesday night, a difference of about a yard is all that separated the Lightning from reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL @NHL

Celly of the #StanleyCup Playoffs goes to Semyon Varlamov. 🤣 https://t.co/b1JjgtMP8K

What’s Next?

Game 6 between the Isles and Lightning is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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