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Lightning’s key to drawing penalties: Make Islanders feel desperate

Tampa Bay’s power-play unit couldn’t get on the ice until late in Game 1, and Jon Cooper said his team didn’t make New York sweat things out enough.
Lightning center Brayden Point (21) scores a power-play goal, beating New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) in the final minute of Game 1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Lightning center Brayden Point (21) scores a power-play goal, beating New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) in the final minute of Game 1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 15
Updated Jun. 15

TAMPA — The Lightning couldn’t take advantage of having the league’s top-ranked power play in Sunday’s loss to the Islanders. Tampa Bay had just two man-advantage opportunities during the Stanley Cup semifinal opener, and its power-play unit didn’t see the ice until nearly two-thirds of the way into the game.

Can you force a team like the Islanders, which has shown discipline in avoiding minor stick penalties, to commit more infractions?

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said drawing penalties starts with forcing an opponent to play with more desperation, something his team didn’t do in Game 1.

“We didn’t make them desperate at all,” Cooper said. “When I want a team leaving the game, I’d like for them to have ice bags all over their body and not feeling too great afterwards. I think, at times, the Islanders probably didn’t have to shower after that game. So a little uncharacteristic for us.

“If you want to have teams take penalties, make them feel some desperation. And I just don’t think we did that enough in the game outside of maybe the first six to eight minutes. So if you want that, that’s what has to be done.”

After Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow and Islanders forward Matt Martin received offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties eight seconds into the game, New York didn’t commit a penalty until Kyle Palmieri was called for interference with 37 seconds left in the second period.

Tampa Bay’s other power play came with 1:38 left in the game, when Brock Nelson was called for high-sticking. The Lightning capitalized on Brayden Point’s power-play goal with 54 seconds left but was unable to tie the score in the waning seconds.

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