EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 15: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates the game winning goal by Jordan Eberle #7 against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 15, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders have life. The upstart Isles are still on the brink of elimination, but they showed fight on Tuesday night in Game 5.

Danny Small

Yo Tampa, I didn’t hear no bell! The New York Islanders are one game away from being sent home, but they aren’t going down without a fight. In Game 5, they outlasted the Lightning in double overtime on the back of a brilliant performance from Semyon Varlamov.

The Isles had trouble figuring out Andrei Vasilevskiy, but Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle eventually cracked the Russian code.

Eberle potted the game-winner after The Captain took advantage of a whiff by Kevin Shattenkirk. It hasn’t been easy to beat Vasilevskiy in this series and the Eberle-Lee connection needed to be almost perfect to do so.

But the story of the night was Varlamov. The Russian netminder saved 36 shots and continues to breathe life into this squad. This series has been anything but perfect for Varlamov, but he stood on his head when his team needed it most.

Power Play Fix?

The Islanders never would have made it into overtime if not for Ryan Pulock‘s power-play blast in the first period. The goal snapped a 1-for-21 streak on the power play and the Isles finished the night 1-for-3 on the man-advantage. They didn’t look perfect but results matter.

On the flip side, New York held Tampa scoreless on three power plays, including a crucial four-minute opportunity at the end of the third period and the beginning of the first overtime. Anthony Beauvillier took a silly penalty and it looked like the series could be over.

But again, Varlamov came to play on Tuesday.

If the Isles can win the special teams battle again in Game 6, we like their chances to force a Game 7 where anything can happen.

Game 2 Looms Large

As good as the Islanders and their fans feel about this Game 5 win, it’s impossible to forget the disappointing Game 2 loss. After an injury and an ejection, Tampa Bay was down to nine forwards for two full periods.

Despite the significant advantage, the Isles didn’t have the killer instinct to put the game away. Tampa pushed in the final minute while the Islanders were playing for overtime. That game still might be the ultimate difference in the series.

After all, the Isles would likely be up 3-2 in this series if they took care of business in Game 2. Now, they face an uphill battle that they could win, but it’s going to take a ridiculous effort to pull off the upset.

The Islanders will slide into Game 6 on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

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