Lightning, Islanders score three goals in 27 seconds; Tampa Bay takes 3-1 series lead

In a matter of seconds — 27 seconds, to be precise — the complexion of Sunday’s Eastern Conference finals Game 4 changed.

The Islanders, who entered the game trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, were in a must-win scenario. Things were looking good when Brock Nelson scored 11:27 into the second period.

But before Islanders fans could finish their “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant, Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman took a stretch pass from Yanni Gourde, put on a move and beat Semyon Varlamov for his fourth goal of the postseason. Fifteen seconds after Nelson’s tally, the game was tied 1-1.

And just 12 seconds after that, Nikita Kucherov made an unreal backhand pass to Ondrej Palat, whose shot went blocker, pipe and in.

In just 27 seconds, the game went from a 1-0 Islanders lead to a 2-1 Lightning lead. Tampa Bay’s two goals 12 seconds apart were the fastest two goals in a postseason game in franchise history, three seconds quicker than the 15 between goals in Game 3 of this year’s second round against the Bruins. Those goals against Boston were tallied by familiar names: Gourde and Palat.

The trio of goals also tied for the third-fastest three goals in NHL history by both teams in a postseason game. Jeremy Roenick, Mathieu Dandenault and Keith Tkachuk accomplished the feat in the Coyotes-Red Wings conference quarterfinal series in 1998. 

At No. 2 on the list are goals by Darryl Sittler (two, 12 seconds apart) and Ron Ellis in 23 seconds during the Atlanta Flames-Maple Leafs preliminary-round matchup in 1979. No. 1 occurred in 1985 when the Blackhawks’ Behn Wilson and the Oilers’ Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson scored in 21 seconds in the conference finals.

Brayden Point, who missed Game 3 because he was “unfit to play,” and Pat Maroon added goals in the final frame to seal a 4-1 Lightning win. Tampa Bay now has a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Game 5 is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

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