Lightning strike in overtime to beat Islanders

Sat May 7, 2016 12:30am EDT
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(Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning led for less than seven minutes combined in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Islanders. But a "quality, not quantity" approach to hockey has the Lightning heading home with a chance to close the series out Sunday afternoon.

Jason Garrison scored 1:34 into overtime Friday night as the Lightning beat the Islanders 2-1 at Barclays Center to take a three games to one series lead.

Tampa Bay the reigning Eastern Conference champions, can move on to the Eastern Conference Final by winning Game 5, which is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The Lightning are on the verge of advancing despite leading for just 66 minutes and 21 seconds in the first four games.

"That experience last year, going to the final, really helped this group," Lightning right winger Ryan Callahan said. "We just continue to go out there and work and we know we'll get those opportunities eventually with the amount of skill we have. Hopefully one of them goes in. Tonight's no different."

Games 3 and 4 weren't that much different for either team.

Garrison's goal gave the Lightning its only lead of Friday night. Tampa Bay trailed for more than 47 minutes before right winger Nikita Kucherov tied the game 7:49 into the third.

In Game 3 on Tuesday, the Lightning led for just 6:40 but forced overtime on a last-minute third period goal by Kucherov. Center Brian Boyle then gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 win by scoring 2:48 into overtime.

"There's no real panic button anymore," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "You don't know whether it's the first period or the third period on our bench. They're just positive about the job they have ahead of them until the last buzzer. It's been a lot of fun being around this group."

The Islanders, meanwhile, are on the verge of suffering the same fate they handed to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. New York won that series in six games despite leading the Panthers for just 45 minutes and 54 seconds -- and won two overtime games in which it didn't lead until scoring the game-winning goal.   Continued...

May 6, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison (5) celebrates his game winning goal against the New York Islanders with teammates during the overtime period of game four of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports