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The playoff picture and what it means for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a quick strike

Bye, Devils. Hello, team from the Atlantic division.

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning are free and clear of the first round as of Saturday afternoon. Our supreme overlady [and short-timer] Achariya joined Matthew for a post-series Charged Up podcast to break down the series and look ahead. [Raw Charge]

On this episode, our editor, Achariya (her nickname is Tanya), finally decides to join the podcast to discuss the Lightning eliminating the Devils and who they could face in the second round. We cover New Jersey’s future as a competitive hockey team, what the Lightning did well against them, what New Jersey did well against Tampa Bay, the standout players from the series, and who we both would like to see in the second round.

The Lightning have also released tickets for the four home games Tampa will play in the second round against either Boston or Toronto. Yes, we have four games! Home ice, baby! [Ticketmaster] [Tampa Bay Times]

The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monday night in Toronto, with Boston leading 3-2. Game 7 is on Wednesday night in Boston, if neccessary.


Who do you WANT the Lightning to face in the second round

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    (141 votes)
  • 80%
    (599 votes)
740 votes total Vote Now


Who WILL the Lightning face in the second round

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    (485 votes)
  • 30%
    (211 votes)
696 votes total Vote Now

Our special Russia correspondent @exxtragalactic has translated an Andrei Vasilevskiy interview where Vasy speaks about Nikita Kucherov, the playoffs, and winning with a Russian goalie in Florida. [Raw Charge]

Vasilevskiy: I don’t know. At practice, [Kuch] can’t score on me (laughs). Jokes aside, Kucherov is a real pain in the ass for goalies. He always knows exactly when to shoot, and has the technique to do it in the least convenient way for my colleagues. Kuch is extremely talented, but you should see how hard he works at practice. This is why he is one of the best in the world.

The life for a goaltender in hockey is weird. You’re alone for most of the night while still being part of a team. [Tampa Bay Times]

“When your team is playing better, it gives you a lot more confidence,” Vasilevskiy said. “Now it’s over with and we have to move on to the second round.” Vasilevskiy moved on quite well. After giving up five goals in a Game 3 loss, displayed an ironclad short-term memory and held the Devils to two goals over the final two games, both on power plays, one on a 5-on-3 advantage.

The Playoffs

The weekend saw a pair of teams bow out of the competition. The Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado both took last year’s Stanley Cup finalists to 6 games, but ultimately got blown out in the sixth game.

Philly looked like they were going to force game 7 with a MCL-less Sean Couturier scoring a hat trick and putting up five points in an 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were without Evgeni Malkin. Jake Guentzel finished off the Flyers with a back-breaking four goals in the latter half of the game. [Pensburgh]

Pittsburgh will play the winner of Columbus and Washington before they meet up with the Lightning in the conference finals. Sorry, was that too premature?

30 seconds in the Pens take the lead, Phil Kessel gets the puck off of Provorov and skates in on a 2-on-1. Phil freezes the goalie and lays a perfect pass for Guentzel to smash in. 5-4.

With third-strinnger Andrew Hammond (The Hamburglar!) manning the pipes, the Colorado Avalanche jusrt didn’t have enough gas in the tank to beat a newly woke Nashville Predators team for a third time. It’s astonishing, frankly, that they were able to push it to six games considering they lost Erik Johnson and Sam Girard as well as both of their NHL goalies in Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier to injuries. [Mile High Hockey]

Although nobody wanted to see this season come to an end, the future is bright in Colorado and you can bet that they will be back for more next year. By taking this series to six games, they were able to end their season back at the Pepsi Center and solute Avalanche fans one more time.

The Preds now have a few days to rest before they have to play in the Stanley Cup Final of the second round against the mighty Atlanta Thrashers Arizona Coyotes Winnipeg Jets, who finished off the Minnesota North Stars Minnesota Wild in five games. [Sportsnet]

This year’s matchup won’t be quite as foreboding, although it’s not all that far off. The Predators are the Presidents’ Trophy champions, and will have home ice. Their lineup features the likely Vezina winner, a Norris finalist, and a forward in Filip Forsberg who’s doing something ridiculous in just about every game. But while the Jets were dominating the Wild, the Predators looked at least a little bit vulnerable against the underdog Avalanche and took on an extra game’s worth of wear and tear in the process, so this is a series that Winnipeg can win.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets will hope to give the NHL at least one game 7 in the first round when they play the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals tonight, respectively. Both will be at home, Toronto starting at 7:00pm, Columbus at 7:30pm.


Who’s more likely to force Game 7?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    (234 votes)
  • 30%
    (102 votes)
336 votes total Vote Now

For the Lightning, the longer the Leafs and Bruins go, the better it is for us. That being said, if the Leafs do come all the way back from 1-3, are you worried the momentum they gain from that would be too much for the Lightning or are they will the front-runners in that series? [Pension Plan Puppets]


What’s the best case scenario for the Lightining?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Bruins in 6
    (31 votes)
  • 15%
    Bruins in 7
    (60 votes)
  • 76%
    Leafs in 7
    (303 votes)
394 votes total Vote Now

The Calder Cup

It doesn’t look like there will be any reinforcements coming up from Tampa any time soon, but it doesn’t appear to be bothering the Syracuse Crunch who are up 2-0 on the Rochester Americans in their 5-game first-round series with a combined score of 12-7 at home. The series now shifts to Rochester for two games. One if the Crunch can close it on Wednesday night. [Raw Charge]

While the final score indicates a blowout, it was a tight game throughout most of the night. Syracuse went into the final period protecting a 3-2 lead. Their aggressive play throughout the game wore down the Amerks, who twice came back from a goal down to tie the game. Gabriel Dumont, who missed the final few games of the regular season and was questionable for the start of this series, proved to be the difference as he scored three times and assisted on another goal.

Should the Crunch finish off the Amerks, the Toronto Marlies will most likely stand in their way. They too hold a 2-0 series advantage over the Utica Comets with game 3 on Wednesday night. The same night the Leafs might pull of a miracle over the Bruins. I’m not saying, but I’m saying we could have an all-out organizational war on our hands. [Pension Plan Puppets]