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Islanders showing Lightning closing out series won’t be easy

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Islanders showing Lightning closing out series won't be easy

The Islanders would have played all night and all morning if that’s what it took, but they were not going to go away. They were not going to take the skate of shame out of the Edmonton bubble. Not after this night. Not after this game.

Not yet.

So yes, there will be a Game 6 in Edmonton on Thursday and the Islanders will still be one loss away from extinction in the conference finals. That has not changed. But here is what has changed: The Islanders will be two victories away from the Stanley Cup final.

Thursday became necessary when the Islanders recorded a 2-1 victory on Jordan Eberle’s goal off Anders Lee’s two-on-one feed at 12:30 of the second overtime to narrow Tampa Bay’s series lead to 3-2.

It was a victory achieved through a full commitment to playing the full 200×85 from the first moment to the last, one in which the Islanders contained the Lightning as well as they have yet, and one that ended with the Islanders’ struggling top line coming through with its first five-on-five goal of the series.

“It’s the biggest one I’ve gotten in a long time,” said Eberle, who scored a power-play goal early in Game 1 of the series, but hadn’t been able to finish at five-on-five despite numerous chances around the net. “We’ve battled hard to get where we are and we’re not finished.”

Jordan Eberle scoreds the game winning goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy in double overtime to lead the Islanders to a 2-1 Game 5 victory over the Lightning.
Jordan Eberle scores the game winning goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy in double overtime to lead the Islanders to a 2-1 Game 5 victory over the Lightning.NHLI via Getty Images

They could have been. Could have been finished when Anthony Beauvillier was hit with a four-minute double minor for high-sticking Mikhail Sergachev at 18:37 of the third. But the Islanders weren’t done. They were just getting started, killing off the penalty while limiting the Lightning to two shots on five attempts, the heavy lifting done by penalty-killers Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, J-G Pageau, Cal Clutterbuck, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, Andy Greene and Johnny Boychuk.

The match was contested in tight quarters. Through the first 80 minutes, the teams combined to block more shots (53, 28 by the Islanders) than they were able to get pucks through on net (49, 29 by Tampa Bay). But then the match began to open up. The pace somehow quickened. Chances developed.

Semyon Varlamov was on top of his game in the Islanders net and so, too, was Andrei Vasilevskiy at the other end. Indeed, it was Vasilevskiy who came up with the save of the night when he was able to get his glove up to deny Mat Barzal, in alone 5:50 into the first overtime.

Barzal did not score and still has not scored in this series. But No. 13 had his finest night and was irrepressible through 31:28 of ice time, strong on the puck, attentive off the puck, recording two shots on 10 attempts, seven of them blocked. And though Lee did not score, he did make the two-on-one winning feed, lugging it down the left side after Kevin Shattenkirk had essentially fanned at the right point.

There was more to Lee’s game than that one pass, the captain resolute in his battles and his work in the defensive zone. The Lightning sat Brayden Point, nursing a lower-body injury, and neither Ondrej Palat nor the ubiquitous Nikita Kucherov (five shots on 14 attempts in a game-high 36:19) scored.

So for this night: Islanders’ Top Guns 1, Lightning Big Boys 0.

Look, Tampa Bay still leads this series. Tampa Bay still needs one victory to advance to the final while the Islanders need two. Point will likely play in Game 6. The Lightning are 3-0 in this series when Point dresses.

But the Islanders are growing through this experience. They are 2-0 in potential elimination games, having survived both Game 7 against the Flyers in the last round and this Game 5. They won this one by going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, the first time they had used that alignment since early in the regular season. You remember the regular season? You remember that training camp for 2019-20 began over one year ago?

And there is a dirty little secret about the Lightning, who seemingly have been on the cusp of a championship since taking out the Rangers in seven in the 2015 Eastern finals before losing the final to the Blackhawks.

That is, twice since then Tampa Bay has been within a victory of another trip to the final. But up 3-2 over the Penguins in 2016, the Lightning lost Games 6 and 7. And in 2018, up 3-2 in the conference finals, the Lightning were shut out back-to-back in Games 6 and 7 by Trotz’s Caps.

Now this. Five games over five years for the final. Five chances. Five losses.

And the Islanders are still here.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Elina Svitolina Picks Up Second Title of the Year Ahead of French Open 2020

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Elina Svitolina Picks Up Second Title of the Year Ahead of French Open 2020

World No.5 Elina Svitolina won her 15th WTA title after defeating Elena Rybakina in the rain-hit final of the WTA Strasbourg Open. The Ukrainian put in a solid performance ahead of French Open 2020.

Svitolina came into the tournament as the second seed. The Ukrainian had dropped a single set before the final. Notably, she had defeated 12th ranked Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals.

Rybakina hadn’t dropped a set before the final, and so everyone was expecting a thunderous clash between her and Svitolina in the final. 

Elina Svitolina hits a powerful forehand. via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

The final was delayed for more than two hours due to rigorous rain. This made the match a bit more unpredictable as the conditions became cooler and slower.

Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina: First Set

The court was evidently slower, and so the first few games were patchy. Svitolina and Rybakina hit a few balls in the net as well as way wide. But serving at 2-2, Rybakina served a few double faults and made a few errors, gifting the break to Svitolina.

The next few games gave us more rallies and better service games. Svitolina pulled off a long hold serving at 3-2 to take a 4-2 lead. By this point, both players had started showing their aggressive sides with Svitolina a bit more clinical. Ryabakina kept pushing on Svitolina’s serve but couldn’t break it.

Svitolina served for the set at 5-4 and held on to win the first set 6-4.

Second Set

Rybakina had a better start to the second set compared to the first one. She targeted Svitolina’s second serve, which helped her break it and lead 2-0. Rybakina also changed it up well with some good drop shots.

Svitolina was having trouble saving her serve and nearly went down 4-0 in the set but held her serve to open her account in the second set 3-1. Rybakina continued her upward trajectory in the match and broke Svitolina again to lead 5-1. She subsequently took the set 6-1 to level the match.

Third Set

The first game was a tough one for Svitolina, who was down 40-0 on her serve. She managed to recover and hold her serve. Rybakina continued her good touch from the previous set to put pressure on her opponent’s serve, but Svitolina was solid enough to hold.

Rybakina had to save a couple of points in a lengthy game to level the third set 2-2. The third set continued with high-quality tennis, with Svitolina hitting a couple of down the line winners to put pressure on Rybakina. Svitolina’s quality paid off as she broke Rybakina to lead the set 4-2. Svitolina continued her hold over the set and won the set and match 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

With this victory, Svitolina edges closer to World No. 4 Karolina Pliskova. The Ukrainian looks good and ready for the French Open, where she will be seeded third. She is back in the conversation of winning a Grand Slam and could be a surprise candidate for a title in Paris.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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How Paulo Costa Turned His Loss in The Ultimate Fighter Into His Motivation

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How Paulo Costa Turned His Loss in The Ultimate Fighter Into His Motivation

The Ultimate Fighter has been the breeding ground for several future champions in the UFC. However, success or failure in The Ultimate Fighter isn’t an exact yardstick of how a fighter will fare in the UFC. Paulo Costa, who fights for the 185-pound belt at UFC 253, is a testimonial to the same.

Costa appeared in the third season of TUF Brazil. How he landed in the Ultimate Fighter house is a story in itself. The minimum requirements for the same were three professional fights. However, Costa had only two.

Therefore, the Brazilian along with his brother went to a local promoter who had an upcoming show. The promoter denied them entry, claiming that all the slots were filled. However, Costa wanted the fight so badly that he agreed to fight for free.

Costa then went on to win his fight against Jose Roberto Rocha to gain entry into the house where he was the second pick for Wanderlei Silva’s team. While Costa always had the raw power, the experience in the reality show was a wake-up call that he needed to invest in his craft much more if he wants to fight the best in the world.

Read: Paulo Costa’s Shots Sound Like ‘Shotgun Blasts’ Says Chael Sonnen

The unofficial Paulo Costa loss that you probably don’t know about

Paulo Costa is 13-0 in professional competition. However, the unblemished record is built off an unofficial loss during Costa’s time in The Ultimate Fighter.

On the seventh episode of the show, Costa was matched up against the No. 1 pick for Chael Sonnen’s team, Marcio Alexandre Jr. After splitting the first two rounds between them, Costa’s gas tank failed him in the final round. Consequently, he lost the fight. However, since fights from The Ultimate Fighter aren’t official, Costa has still maintained his undefeated record.

Following the loss, Costa stayed in the house and was often curious about learning something new. He didn’t mind approaching rival coach and former UFC middleweight challenger, Chael Sonnen, for advice.

When I got the decision, that loss by decision, it was not an official loss, but it helped me to not want to take one more of that feeling,” Costa said while talking to reporters during a virtual media day. “When I felt how bad it is to take one loss in your career, I decided to work hard to not get more defeats.

Costa has proved that hunger to improve upon yourself is often the most required ingredient for succeeding in life. The Brazilian will look to cap off his dream run by defeating Israel Adesanya at UFC 253.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Jets vs. Colts: Preview, predictions, what to watch for

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Jets vs. Colts: Preview, predictions, what to watch for


Costello’s Call It would be a win for the Jets just to remain competitive in this game after two weeks of looking like a doormat. This one will be close at halftime, but the Colts will pull away as the Jets’ offense fails to reach the end zone. Colts 24, Jets 9 Marquee Matchup Colts…

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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