Battle of nasty hits goes Lightning’s way in end of Game 3
The New York Islanders are in the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time since 1993, and they mean business.
Just in case the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t know, here’s a reminder, courtesy of Thomas Hickey, in the video above.
Hickey knocked Tampa’s Jonathan Drouin out of the game — and into next week — with a hit in Game 3 on Tuesday night. No penalty on the play. Drouin called it a clean hit afterward.
Drouin, who has been a pleasant surprise in the playoffs with eight points in eight games, returned in the third and assisted on the tying goal.
But it was teammate Brian Boyle who delivered some payback with a huge hit on Hickey, then scored at 2:48 of overtime to lift the Lightning to a 5-4 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
Seconds before the Lightning’s rush on their winning goal, Boyle delivered a hard shoulder hit to the head of Hickey on the left side after the Islanders defenseman had sent the puck forward. No penalty was called on the play.
The Lightning got the puck and were on an odd-man rush as Victor Hedman fired a shot from the left side that was wide. The rebound came off the boards and right to Boyle in front at the right side of the goal and he tapped it in for the win.
— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) May 4, 2016
Islanders coach Jack Capuano couldn’t believe there wasn’t a penalty called on Boyle’s hit on Hickey.
"It’s a direct shot to the head. I mean (he’s) probably going to get suspended a game," Capuano said. "Those are the type of hits we’re trying to eliminate from our game. … It’s frustrating because the play is right there. (The official) is looking right at it."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper disagreed with his counterpart’s assessment.
"How many hits were in that game, 70, 80 hits?" Cooper said. "I would say there were 15 harder than the one Boyle was involved in. … To me, that was a mild hit compared to some of the banging that went on in that hockey game."
Drouin, for his part, set up Nikita Kucherov’s tying goal.
"It’s kind of apropos the way the whole thing worked out," Cooper said. "(Drouin) gets hit the way he did, that was a thunderous hit. … It was pretty cool that he was the guy that set up the (tying goal)."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.