Vasilevskiy and the Lightning turn out the lights on the “Caniacs”.
Tampa Bay Wins the Series 4-1
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 29 shots he faced for his third straight series-clinching shutout win going back to the Stanley Cup Final against Dallas last season. As is often the case, he made a handful of key situational saves to buy time for the Lightning to solve the puzzle at the other end of the rink.
4:06 TB Point (8), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)
9:04 TB Colton (3), (unassisted)
Vasilevskiy, Brayden Point, and Ross Colton were the game’s three stars.
The Lightning are now, officially, halfway up the mountain again in a closeout game that was surprisingly easy. I expected more of a push from Carolina in this game, but the Lightning started to take control of this series from a possession standpoint in Game Three of the series and although they were outshot in the game tonight, the expected goals slanted heavily to Tampa Bay’s favor because of the amount Carolina had to overload their forecheck to generate any pressure. Once the Lightning beat that first line of 2-3 players in their half of the rink, it was a ton of ice and often an outmanned chance at the other end. The Lightning could’ve had 6-7 goals in this game easily but for Nedeljkovich, but sooner or later Ned gifts you one softie, and tonight it was Ross Colton’s turn to be the recipient. Nedeljkovic is fool’s gold and Vasilevskiy’s the genuine article and that proved itself true tonight.
For the Lightning, after the bloodbath that the Panthers series was at times, this Hurricanes series turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. They’re not terribly physical so I think you saw players like Victor Hedman get a little healthier as the series progressed. And, the Lightning were able to reprogram their game, so to speak, after the first two games of this series where they had a hangover from the unorthodox way they had to play to get through the Panthers. Now they’ll get a few more days to rest and we’ll see if it’s Boston or the Islanders in the league semifinals. Either way, the Lightning are again efficiently progressing through the playoff bracket. They look formidable having weathered two very different series stylistically in 6 and 5 games respectively.
Ross Colton had a goal, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 7:50. The fourth line played an amazing game tonight, led by the play of Tyler Johnson, but certainly Maroon and Colton had their moments as well.