Tampa Bay Lightning: Bolts Advance to Next Round

The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to find ways to get it done when it matters the most. They are without Steven Stamkos and they also lost Nikita Kucherov in Game 5 against the Boston Bruins due to injury. However, with 5:50 remaining in the second overtime, Victor Hedman scored the game-winning goal to help Tampa Bay advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. They won the game 3-2 over Boston.

Lightning Strike

Hedman’s goal was assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk and Brayden Point. This team is showing grit and toughness, after what happened in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season against the Columbus Blue Jackets, as The Presidents’ Trophy Winners.

This time around, Tampa Bay knocked out the best team in the league during the regular season in the Boston Bruins (The Presidents’ Trophy Winners).

A team with the best record in the NHL during the regular season has not won it all since the shortened season in 2013 by the Chicago Blackhawks in six games against the Boston Bruins.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the third-period with 7:57 remaining in the game on a goal scored by Anthony Cirelli. It was assisted by Victor Hedman and Brayden Point.

Highlights for Tampa

Point maybe the early Conn Smythe favorite for the Tampa Bay Lightning through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nikita Kucherov may also be in the running for it as well, along with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He finished the game with 45 saves for Tampa Bay and Vasilevskiy appears to be on a mission.

The first line of this hockey team is the heartbeat of this hockey team. They are going to need to continue to grind out though.

The Boston Bruins tied the game at two with 2:33 remaining in regulation on a goal scored by David Krejci. It was assisted by Zdeno Chara and Connor Clifton.

Boston Blues

This may have been Zdeno Chara’s last game in a Boston Bruins uniform. He is 43 years old and is contemplating retirement.

Chara would not be the captain next season if he retired and it could go to somebody like David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, or Brad Marchand though.

There were no goals scored in the first period of this game.

Ondrej Palat scored just 4:21 into the second-period for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk and Blake Coleman.

David Pastrnak tied the game at one in the second period for Boston with 7:22 remaining on a power-play goal. It was assisted by David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.

Jaroslav Halak also played well in this game for the Boston Bruins with 32 saves, but it wasn’t enough in a losing effort.

Tuukka Rask left the bubble in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before Game 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Final Thoughts

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will have an interesting offseason ahead. As for head coach Jon Cooper, his team marches on. They will face either the New York Islanders or the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The series could start in Toronto, Ontario, at the Scotiabank Arena. But, it could potentially shift to the Rogers Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tampa Bay has not won it all since 2004 against the Calgary Flames in seven games. This is the fourth time in six seasons that the Tampa Bay Lightning has reached the Eastern Conference Finals though.

In 2015, they defeated the New York Rangers in seven games. Tampa Bay then lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Lightning lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games in 2016. The Washington Capitals in seven games in 2018.

What do you think of the Tampa Bay Lightning reaching the Eastern Conference Finals once again? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

 

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