New York Islanders winger Jordan Eberle scored the game-winning goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the 2020 Eastern Conference finals Tuesday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The New York Islanders fought off playoff elimination with a 2-1 double-overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the 2020 Eastern Conference finals.
Jordan Eberle scored the decisive goal with 7:30 remaining in the second overtime period Tuesday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
"To score that and continue to move on and give ourselves another chance [to advance] in a couple days is huge," Eberle told reporters.
Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock gave his squad a 1-0 edge when he scored on a first-period power play. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman then tied the score with a goal four minutes into the second period. Neither team scored in the third period or the first overtime before Eberle struck.
Islanders left wing Anders Lee recovered a loose puck after a faceoff in New York territory at the start of the final play. Lee then scorched up the left flank before he sent a pass to his right on a breakaway.
The feed found Eberle, who roped a shot into the right side of the net to beat Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on his glove side.
Vasilevskiy had 22 saves in the loss. Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov had 36 saves.
"Winning and losing is razor-thin in this league. ... It took the stars aligning to get the shot they got," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That's what happens in this game. We had opportunities to put this game away."
The Islanders face the Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday in Edmonton. The winner of the series will battle the Dallas Stars next week in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning now lead the series 3-2.
"It was a grind for both teams," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "Our guys didn't waver. You can get some energy from it.
"We've had some heartbreakers. ... But this group keeps getting off the floor and refuses to give up. That's a great sign for going forward and gives us some good energy for next game."