The Tampa Bay Lightning showed up and showed out in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals and find themselves one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. However, that’s not to say everything was great. Brayden Point left the game yet again with an injury so his status for game five is very much in question at the moment.
The Islanders went up 1-0 in the second period following a Brock Nelson shot to the top corner over Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s shoulder. What followed were goals by Blake Coleman and Ondrej Palat just twelve seconds apart from one another and a mere fifteen and twenty-seven seconds after Nelson’s respectfully.
Brayden Paoint added one in the third before leaving the game and Pat Maroon capped things off with an empty netter for the 4-1 victory.
Here is where Point went down;
When asked about the injury, head coach Jon Cooper didn’t have much to offer other than “We have to manage him,” which sounds like Point may not be fully healthy for the remainder of the postseason – which is a big concern for the Lightning moving forward. Point has been their best player of the postseason – although, one could make the case for Vasy or Victor Hedman – and the team goes as Point goes. Coleman said after the game, “He’s the most dangerous guy in the playoffs this year. He’s a special talent. He tilts the ice every time he’s out there.”
If the Lightning do have to go without Point in game five, they will at least do so without the loss of Alex Killorn as well. Though no one can actually replace what Point does, there are guys on this team that can step up and play key roles when called upon.
We even saw the “triplets” line a few times following Point’s departure which could be the alignment Cooper opts to go with in game five, though he seems to favor Anthony Cirelli on that top line with Palat and Nikita Kucherov when Point is out.
Lightning fans can certainly breathe a sigh of relief that the series is back to a two game lead and the Lightning are on the cusp of winning the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the job is not done and the series is not over. The Islanders have the coaching and resolve to fight their way back in it. Best to end things in game five rather than let New York linger around any longer.