TAMPA, Fla. — Ryan Pulock’s postseason continues to be vastly different than his regular season, even if he’s not doing much differently.
The defenseman with the booming righthanded shot scored the third-period goal that gave the Islanders a two-goal lead in their 2-1 victory over the Lightning in Game 1 of their NHL semifinals on Sunday afternoon at Amalie Arena.
It was Pulock’s fourth postseason goal and his third winning goal. This after notching just two regular-season goals in 56 games, a career low in a full season and a bit of a surprise after he matched a career high with 10 goals in 2019-20.
"He’s playing a really solid game, like he has all year, pucks are just going in," coach Barry Trotz said. "I think early in the year, or during the year, he was actually trying to score and now he’s just putting pucks to the net and they’re going in. I don’t think there’s any change in his game. He’s had a real solid season from game one right to the end of the season."
Pulock has said that not scoring with frequency during the regular season did weigh on him.
"I try to not let that bother me during the regular season," Pulock said. "Just keep playing my game, play the right way, play good defensively and I knew it would come. But come playoff time, it’s nice to contribute in that way and help out offensively. Every goal is huge in the playoffs. I just want to keep that going."
Oliver Wahlstrom was out of the lineup for the eighth game in a row. But he participated in pregame warmups for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury against the Penguins in Game 5 of the first round.
That indicates he is now available and no longer day to day.