The matchup for the 2020 Stanley Cup Final isn’t set just yet.
Jordan Eberle deposited a perfect pass from Anders Lee in transition early in double overtime for the New York Islanders, who will live to fight for at least one more game inside the Edmonton bubble after a 2-1 win in Game 5 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Eberle’s winner came on just the 24th shot through four-plus periods for the Islanders, who failed to keep Andrei Vasilevskiy busy in a game in which they blocked more shots than they managed to produce for themselves. But with patience and a commitment to the defensive end, the Islanders accomplished something that not a single opponent had versus the Lightning in parts of 11 overtime frames over the balance of the postseason schedule so far, which was to produce a game winner against them.
Making 36 saves for New York, Semyon Varlamov was the star of the game for the Islanders — and he celebrated accordingly.
Victor Hedman scored his eighth goal of the postseason to extend his lead among defensemen and strengthen his Conn Smythe Trophy bid, while it was Ryan Pulock that opened the regulation scoring with his second of the playoffs.
The Islanders and Lightning will reconvene in Edmonton on Thursday night for Game 6.