After their 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Five, many are writing their obituaries for the 2021-22 Tampa Bay Lightning. Sure, there’s a statistic that 79% of the teams that win the fifth game of a series have won that series, but that’s 21% of the time the other team wins. If there’s any team in the league you shouldn’t cross off until dirt hits the coffin lid, it’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
This year hasn’t been the easiest for them, but so far they’ve managed to find a way to get things done. Whenever their backs are on the wall, they take it off. When people were writing off Stephen Stamkos, he threw a 100-point season. When injuries to Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov threatened to derail their season early, they found a way. When it looked like Boston was going to kick them down in the wild card, they found a way to put them away. Whenever a losing streak hits them, they find a way to correct the ship. It wasn’t always pretty, but they made it to the playoffs
Now they face the biggest test they’ve had in the last three seasons – back-to-back knockout matches. In fact, during their previous two rounds, they faced elimination only once, in Game 7 against the New York Islanders last year. They pulled it off, can they do it against the maple leaf? Only time will prove it.
The first step is to win the sixth game. Winning after losses has become a trademark of the post-season because they haven’t suffered back-to-back losses since 2019. But that won’t be enough. They actually have to win two games in a row. However, if they do win in Tampa, consider the pressure Toronto will face in Game Seven. Will the ghosts of the past series haunt them? What if lightning jumped to an early front and a sense of unease spreads among the crowd? Much more if for certain, but why should we bet against lightning now?
Understood, this team looks. They make a lot of unintentional mistakes and Toronto doesn’t let them get out of the way. However, this team has shown us what they have made before. So he practiced a little faith in them. Believe they will find a way again. Well two more times.
Lightning / NHL News
Lightning drop bullets, game loss, trail chain [Raw Charge]
After four straight games where the winning team took the lead after scoring the first goal, we finally got a change of lead in the Leafs/Lightning series. Unfortunately, Lightning was losing the lead. They almost made a comeback, but that wasn’t the case.
Was this the turning point? I think that was the turning point.
Vasilevskiy is not among the finalists for Vezina [Tampa Bay Times]
Finalists were named for Vezina and for the first time in four seasons Andrei Vasilevskiy was not among them. Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Markstrom and Jose Sarros were the three finalists. We know Shesterkin would take this one on the ground, but it was good to keep the streak going for Vasy.
The loss was all worth it, the Canadians will take first place overall [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
It looks like Shane Wright will be wearing the iconic Canadians jacket next season as Montreal wins the lottery. New Jersey will be second while Arizona, Seattle and Philadelphia will finish the top five. Columbus has two options in the top 12 thanks to the first-round pick they received from Chicago which ended up being the sixth pick.
Thank you hockey [The Players’ Tribune]
After 23 years in the NHL, Patrick Marlowe hangs skates. What is the duration of the profession? It was drafted in 1997, a year before Lightning took over by Vincent Le Cavalier. This makes Joe Thornton the only player left from the 97 draft still active in the league.
Jacques Eichel has played the past six weeks with a broken thumb [Knights on Ice]
The Vegas Golden Knights had an epic meltdown of their season. Eichel, the big possession appears to have suffered from injury while blocking a shot against the Florida Panthers on March 17th. Despite the pain, he has put in 15 points over the last 19 games where they have fallen behind, but failed, to hold onto a playoff position.
Other games last night:
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Boston Bruins 1, Carolinas top group 3-2
Do you remember how the sparrows didn’t have a chance because Fredrik Andersen was injured? Seth Jarvis scored twice, showing Carolina’s depth and now they have a chance to finish things off tomorrow.
St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 2, St. Louis lead the series 3-2
Kirill Kaprizov scored twice in strong play to give Wilde the lead, but a natural third-half hat-trick by Vladimir Tarasenko propelled the Blues to victory.
Los Angeles Kings 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 (OT), and LA lead the series 3-2
Leon Drysittel scored twice in the third half to lead Edmonton into overtime, but Adrien Kempe only finished things 1:12 into the bonus period with his second goal of the game. Edmonton is heading straight into another disappointing playoff year as Los Angeles looks to complete the upset at home on Thursday.
Another team has a chance to end their streak early as the Penguins look to finish the Rangers. Meanwhile, the other two games feature teams that don’t give their opponents an inch. The way things are going it looks like there could be quite a few Game Sevens in the first round.
Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN, CBC
The penguins are up 3-1
Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, TVAS
The chain is linked in 2
Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames, 9:30 EST, ESPN, CBC
The chain is linked in 2