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Islanders on brink of elimination after embarrassing 8-0 loss in Game 5

Semyon Varlamov of the Islanders is replaced by

Semyon Varlamov of the Islanders is replaced by Ilya Sorokin during the first period against the Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on Monday in Tampa, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Mike Carlson

TAMPA, Fla. — "Man up."

In short, that’s coach Barry Trotz’s message with the Islanders’ season on the brink.

They suffered an embarrassing total team breakdown Monday night — a parade of errors in every facet of the game, including potential NHL supplemental discipline for an undisciplined Mathew Barzal — as the Lightning earned an 8-0 victory at Amalie Arena to take a 3-2 lead in the NHL semifinal series.

It was the largest margin of defeat in club playoff history and the first time the Islanders have been shut out this postseason.

Game 6, now a must-win for the Isles, will be played Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum.

"The game, this result, how we played, if that doesn’t motivate us, then I’m not too sure what will," Trotz said. "There’s nothing I can say that will motivate them. We’ve just got to man up, understand all the things we need to do. And this group does."

Nothing went right as the Islanders’ defensive structure collapsed immediately. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each scored two goals for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy was rarely challenged in making 20 saves. The Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov was pulled for Ilya Sorokin in the first period as the Lightning finished with 40 shots.

The Islanders were either fumbling the puck in their own end, failing to get the puck deep into the Lightning zone and establishing any physical presence, or allowing the Lightning to transition into odd-man rushes by putting up no neutral-zone roadblocks.

"A loss is a loss at this time of the year," said Kyle Palmieri, who started on Barzal’s left wing instead of Leo Komarov after being alternated there in the Islanders’ 3-2 win in Game 4 on Saturday at the Coliseum.

"Whether it was in double overtime or the way it went tonight, we’ll wake up tomorrow down 3-2, headed home and our backs against the wall," Palmieri added. "We have a chance to win a game at home. That’s all we’re focused on now."

The Lightning, who have scored 10 unanswered goals in the series, went 3-for-6 on the power play as the frustrated Islanders totaled 30 of their 57 penalty minutes in the second period. That included a five-minute cross-check and game misconduct on Barzal for his hit on defenseman Jan Rutta at the buzzer.

Rutta did not play in the third period and Lightning coach Jon Cooper did not have an immediate update on his condition.

Trotz said he had not heard about the NHL contacting the Islanders about possible supplemental discipline, but he was disappointed in Barzal’s action.

"Disappointed because it wasn’t going well and he just dug it a little deeper for the guys," Trotz said. "I am disappointed in his decision."

It led to Brayden Point’s power-play goal, which made it 7-0 at 1:59 of the third period. He became the second player in NHL history with a playoff goal streak of at least eight games.

The first period was as lopsided as possible, with the Lightning outshooting the Islanders 19-5 and taking a 3-0 lead. They took four shots in the opening 45 seconds and Stamkos made it 1-0 off the left post after defenseman Adam Pelech’s turnover. Yanni Gourde’s attempted cross-ice feed deflected in off diving defenseman Andy Greene to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead at 11:04 and Killorn made it 3-0 at 15:27, ending Varlamov’s outing after 15 shots.

There were some signs of life to start the second period as Nick Leddy hit the post from the left point just over a minute in and Josh Bailey followed by hitting the post from in tight. Brock Nelson also hit the side of the net.

But Stamkos extended the lead to 4-0 with a power-play one-timer from the left circle at 5:42 of the period. Ondrej Palat tipped David Savard’s shot past Sorokin to make it 5-0 at 15:43. Killorn tipped Victor Hedman’s shot from the point on the power play for his second goal and a 6-0 lead at 17:53.

Luke Schenn’s goal, which made it 8-0, was a perfect coda to the Islanders’ night, as his seemingly harmless shot from the right point deflected in off Ryan Pulock.

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