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Lightning Storm Rolls into Round 2
By Jake Ricker
The Tampa Bay Lightning played a fantastic game and did not look back as they played a full 60 minutes. As for the Devils, Schneider played out of his mind but the offense could just not get rolling. The Lightning played a very disciplined game whereas the Devils started out that way but it didn’t last long. With this win, this win the Lightning have officially advanced to the second round and will be waiting for their next opponents.
Things got started off with a bang as Ryan McDonagh laid out a huge hit on Lovejoy sending him into the boards. The Bolts looked great early as they had few nice chances but could not capitalize on them. Both teams stayed surprisingly disciplined in this one a making the game fly by quickly. The Bolts kept pushing and it was none other than Mikhail Sergachev who took a wrist shot from the point that went right through tons of traffic to put the Bolts up 1-0. This was Sergachev’s first playoff goal making him the youngest Bolt to score his first in the playoffs. It was all Lighting though, as they continued to shut down anything the Devils tried and they had tons of time in the offensive zone. Both teams also stayed disciplined throughout the rest of the period not taking a single penalty and keeping their teams out of the box. Killorn would have a huge chance to extend the Bolts lead to 2 but Schneider turned him away. Vasy also had his fair share of shining moments too as he made some big-time stops keeping the Bolts ahead by 1.
Goals: 1-0 Tampa Bay
Shots: 11-1o Tampa Bay
The second was very different from the first period as the Devils discipline took a turn for the worse. Just 5 minutes into this one Pavel Zacha was called for holding and gave the Bolts their first power play of the night. The Devils penalty kill unit stood strong through and kept the deficit at 1. Unfortunately for the Devils PK unit, this would not be the last time on the ice. Just a few minutes later the Devils took a too many men on the ice penalty to give the Bolts their second PP of the night. The Devils and Corey Schneider once again stopped them cold and killed off the PP. Both teams played a few short minutes of 5 on 5 where they each got some chances until the Devils fell to their old habits.This time it was Kyle Palmieri who got 2 for tripping and gave the Bolts their third straight PP. The Devils PK unit just kept rolling through as they killed off yet another penalty. Just 2 more min later the Devils went right back to the box. Damon Severson was the guilty party this time as he was sent to the box for holding. The Bolts luck did not change on their 4th straight PP as the Devils once again killed it off. We would then finally get some 5 on 5 action where both netminders played fantastic stopping anything that was thrown their way. The Devils penalty streak would not end there though as Andy Greene was called for cross-checking. Hedman would wait the delayed call out and give the Bolts a PP to start the final 20 of the game.
Goals: 1-0 Tampa Bay
Shots: 28-15 Tampa Bay
The fresh sheet of ice did not help the Bolts PP unit as they once again failed to convert on the man advantage. Both teams would fight this one out though in a one-goal game for most of the period. The Bolts would finally get called for their first penalty of the night when Anthony Cirelli got 2 for high-sticking. The Devils PP had just as much luck as the Bolts did though as they could not cash in with the extra skater. Both teams got a few chances with their goalies making big stops until just over the halfway mark of the third period. Nikita Kucherov who had a crazy game after hitting multiple posts and had 6 plus shots on net finally got what he was looking for. Kuch wristed one from the point and sent it right past Schneider to give the Bolts a 2-0 lead heading into the final half of the game. The Devils tried to pull within one but just could not get anything past Vasy. Luckily for the Devils, they got their discipline back and did not take another penalty. The Devils started to run out of time and began to get into desperation mode. The Devils pulled Schneider to get the extra skater with 3 min to go and their season on the line. Hope was not lost though as Patrick Maroon ripped through traffic and got it past Vasy to pull the devils within one. With the faceoff at center ice, Schneider would have to go back in the net and make a huge save. Johnson who is very dangerous in the playoffs got off on a breakaway right off the faceoff and took a shot looking for top shelf, Schneider made a Brodeur like save though and turned him away. The Devils would once again pull their goalie and get the extra skater on. Unfortunately, things would work out much better for the Bolts this time. With seconds left to go the Bolts got it out of the zone and Cally threw one into the empty net for a 3-1 Lightning lead! With one second left the Bolts would win the faceoff and the crowd went CRAZY! THE TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING ARE GOING TO THE SECOND ROUND OF THE STANLY CUP PLAYOFFS!
Goals: 3-1 Tampa Bay
Shots: 38-27 Tampa Bay
- Mikhail Sergachev (1G)
- Andri Vaskilieski (27 saves; 1 GA)
- Nikita Kucherov (1G, 7S)
Up Next and Final Strike
The Bolts played another great game with the team clicking on almost all cylinders. The PK played great again, even though they killed only one penalty it came at a big time. The Bolts did a fantastic job of never letting up and playing for a full 60 minutes. Nikita Kucherov had a fantastic game with his goal and 7 shots that kept the pressure on the Devils. Vasy only kept adding to his playoff resume with another great playoff performance. The Bolts power play still needs some work and they will hopefully have that straightened out before round 2. With that said, the Bolts will look to rest up before round 2 and get everyone on the team healthy and ready to go.The Bolts will wait for the Leafs or Bruins to advance to the second round.