Thank you, Petr Mrazek.
Tampa Bay Leads the Series 3-1
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 25 shots for the victory. Didn’t look great. Looked uncomfortable for large swaths of the game and allowed a bad angle howler for the fourth goal against. But, luckily, he looked like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur combined compared to what was going on at the other end of the rink.
14:24 TB Point (7), (Palat, Cernak)
4:30 CAR Teravainen (2), (Staal, Svechnikov)
5:09 CAR Fast (1), (Martinook, Slavin)
9:54 TB Stamkos (4), (Killorn, Point)(PP)
10:35 CAR Hamilton (2), (Aho, Svechnikov)
12:41 CAR Slavin (1), (Paquette, Lorentz)
14:38 TB Kucherov (4), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
17:10 TB Johnson (1), (Colton, Maroon)
19:37 TB Stamkos (5), (Kucherov, Cirelli)(PP)
6:01 Kucherov (5), (Palat)
Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point were the game’s three stars.
I don’t know how to feel about this game. Everything went to script in the first 20 minutes of hockey as the Lightning continued their possession dominance from Game Three to stake themselves to an early 1-0 lead that could’ve been even larger. The looked ready to cruise to a banner afternoon before inexplicably taking their foot off the gas and playing an intensity-free first half of the Second Period to fall into a 4-2 hole. That kind of mental mistake typically is the kind of thing that you deserve to lose from. Thankfully, Petr Mrazek played one of the worst games in net you’ll ever see by a NHL goaltender, and he allowed three unanswered in the period and four unanswered the rest of the game to deliver the W to Tampa Bay. By most measures the Lightning certainly deserved the win. Take away the flurry at the end where Carolina poured on some xG’s with the goaltender pulled in garbage time and the Lightning nearly doubled up the Hurricanes in expected goals while the MoneyPuck deserve-to-win meter was about 82% on Tampa Bay. In fact, Carolina’s xG chart was essentially a flat line from their fourth goal on until the 6 on 5 at the end of the game. However, I would not have expected to see the kind of mental lapse I saw to start the Second Period, though, nor do I think this team can expect the bail out they got today if they advance and play a more veteran Boston or Islanders team.
As it is, I don’t know how the young Hurricanes rebound psychologically from this loss for Game Five, let alone how they win the next three games in a row. They almost have to switch back to Nedeljkovich after the way Mrazek bled out in this game. But his own semi-soft goals in Game One and Game Two were part of Brind’Amour’s gamble to switch to Mrazek to begin with. Putting aside their brief flirtation with shooting their own foot off, the Lightning proved their flip of the possession advantage and the return of their PP dominance were not Game Three flukes. With that said, it seems just a matter of time before they punch their ticket for the NHL’s final four.
Ross Colton had a helper and was +1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 8:26.