Trotz got what he wanted and still lost.
Tampa Bay Leads the Series 2-1
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed one goal on 28 shots for the victory. Just another solid performance with all the big situational saves when needed.
10:05 TB Gourde (3), (Coleman, Cernak)
17:01 NYI Clutterbuck (4), (Martin, Cizikas)
19:40 TB Point (11), (Hedman, Kucherov)
Vasilevskiy and Brayden Point were the game’s first and second stars.
Tale of two games, really. The first half of this contest was a pretty perfect road game with the Lightning playing superb defensive hockey and patiently taking their chances when they came. But, just like in G1, there’s a fine line between patient and passive and the team crossed it in the second half of the game. They’re very fortunate Pelech bailed them out with a weapons grade stupid penalty that gave them the PP that yielded Point’s game winner. The rest of the game was a case of the Lightning playing pretty tightly defensively, but still absorbing too much pressure rather than smartly looking to push to get the put away goal. All’s well that ends well, though, and I overall question the logic of Trotz’s overall strategy. Logic said he would use the crowd to gas up his players to be more physical and try to force more turnovers out of Tampa. But, Trotz called off the dogs deliberately to try to avoid taking penalties. It worked, but at the price of forcing his own team to play a style of hockey that isn’t them when it was obvious the one line that had any jam to their game (the Cizikas line) was the only one generating pressure routinely. I don’t expect Trotz to change strategies because he ultimately got the 2-1 game he wanted tonight, but he could be signing his team’s death warrant in the process.
Ross Colton had 2 shots and 4 hits in 8:10. This is the first time in the playoffs I think I’ve felt the fourth line was a bit of a liability in back-to-back games. They do seem to be struggling to break out of their end when they get called upon to do so.