TAMPA — Thomas Greiss has been so spectacular and nearly flawless, that these days, the real surprise is when he lets in a goal that doesn’t look so flashy. In that case, the goalie and his team just focus on letting go of the memory.
To be sure, of the three Lightning goals he allowed in the Islanders’ 4-1 defeat in Game 2 on Saturday, Greiss regretted one in particular. “The second one,” he said, referring to Jonathan Drouin’s score at 11:55 of the first period which gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead. But, with the same unfazed manner in which he met his recent victories, he added, “That’s hockey. Things happen.”
Bottom line: No Islanders blamed Greiss for the defeat that tied the second-round series at one game apiece. He did make 27 saves — eight more than did winning goaltender Ben Bishop. The real crusher, in fact, was the third goal, Victor Hedman’s long power-play shot that caromed off Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan. “It was just bounces more than anything,” Greiss said. “The third goal, if that doesn’t go in off our D, it makes it a totally different game. And if I save one, it’s a 1-1 game, a totally different game.”
Greiss would like to have another chance to stop the shot by Drouin. It happened after the puck hit Islander forward Nikolay Kulemin. Drouin, a heralded young player with good hands, had just enough time to direct a quick backhand into the net.
“Just sneaked through,” the goalie said. “It was just one of those squeakers that happens every once in a while. You don’t want to let it in, but it happens.”
Jack Capuano provided the echo: “It happens. I think that was the one that went through his legs there. Any goaltender will tell you that you don’t want anything to go through you. But with that said, he has played really well in these playoffs and down the stretch in the regular season.
“He’s a warrior,” the coach said, “He wants to battle. I’m sure he’d like to have that one back but at the end of the day you’ve got to have a short memory and bounce back for Tuesday night.”