The Tampa Bay Lightning are officially headed to the Eastern Conference Finals. Steve Yzerman has built an organization and team that is ready to compete every year. Sure, there were some growing pains along the way, but they’ve gotten almost to where Yzerman wants them — the last step being lifting a certain silver trophy over their heads, which Yzerman did as a player three times.
The schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals is set. Game 1 is Friday, May 11th, at 8pm. The only non-8pm start time is the 7pm start on Saturday night.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are more than Nikita Kucherov. Here is a scouting report by the Washington Times. [Washington Times]
Tampa Bay has responded to losses quite well, overcoming a 6-2 barrage in Game 1 to the Bruins. After that, they allowed only seven goals — with three of them coming in Game 5. Even factoring in the five goals allowed to start the Bruins series, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is giving up 2.20 goals per game. He’s allowed only one goal in four of the Lightning’s 10 outings.
Rest has been a massive aid to the Lightning in these playoffs. That goes for managing minutes on the bench and getting days off between series. [Tampa Bay Times]
“We’re not over-playing anybody, I don’t think,” he said. “Playing all four lines helps the momentum for all 12 forwards, and it gives (fresh legs) throughout the series.”
Two moves right before and after the trade deadline — adding Miller to the Stamkos line and promoting Cirelli from AHL Syracuse — helped flush out the other three.
“There’s an obvious excitement about being [in the ECF] again, but it’s a different excitement. It’s more like we’re on a mission.”— #GoBolts (@TBLightning) May 8, 2018
Practice day | Jon Cooper: pic.twitter.com/NuxKhhDRDD
The Syracuse Crunch’s season is done after getting swept by the Toronto Marlies in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. [Raw Charge]
The Syracuse Crunch season finished Tuesday night as they lost 2-1 to the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies move on to the third round while the Crunch see their roller coaster year come to an end.
Alex Gallant, the Syracuse Crunch's enforcer playing in his first game of these playoffs, has been ejected in the first period for this targeted hit on Toronto Marlies forward Mason Marchment. Toronto heads to a five-minute powerplay up 1-0 in Game 4. pic.twitter.com/s85D36gZoZ— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) May 8, 2018
Alex Barré-Boulet scored a goal, but it was for naught as the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada fell 5-2 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. [Bolt Prospects]
Just like the Armada in Game 1, the Titan claimed the first game on their home ice with a strong start and a better finish. Acadie-Bathurst jumped out in front with two power play goals in the first to stake a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. But the Armada would strike back in the 2nd period with a power play goal by Joel Teasdale (2018 draft eligible) and then the 2-2 equalizer by Bolt prospect Alex Barré-Boulet with this 13th of the playoffs.
Canucks Army is trying to use the Lightning as a template for their team. There are a few errors when it comes to the section they sourced from us, but otherwise it’s a good piece! Just be sure to read the transcript Saima wrote as well, for accuracy. [Canucks Army]
The Lightning are the shortest and lightest team to have qualified for the playoffs but you wouldn’t know that by watching them play. They hound the puck, the finish their checks, and they aren’t afraid to go to the dirty areas.
They overcome those size differences by the style of play that they have. Maybe that in part has to do with their later round picks and free agents signings (like Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde) wanting to prove people wrong, or their pre-existing skill sets but there is little doubt that it is a mantra from the coaching staff.
Paralympic ice hockey is a great sport and more people need to be watching it. That and more on Womens Hockey Wednesday. [Pension Plan Puppets]
One of the most important things to happen over the last fortnight in terms of international hockey was the Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup. We’ve included a section on that, but it doesn’t get much coverage, so there’s not much we can say about it. Theoretically para ice hockey is coed (witness the several dozen stories from Pyeongchang about Lena Schroeder, the token woman) which is part of the reason there’s not even substantial support or recognition from the various national hockey governing bodies for the women’s teams.
No, you should not trade Phil Kessel. [Pensburgh]
It’s the Penguins offseason, which means a variety of media members floating numerous theories, suggestions, and best of all, predictions that they’ll be trading star players.
Usually it’s Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang. Now it’s starting to be Phil Kessel. Hell, some idiot columnist will have to take to his grave the fact he said “don’t be surprised if the Pens trade Phil Kessel” in summer 2017. If that was FOLLOWING winning the Cup two times in two years. Surely the vultures will be circling now.
Highlight of the Night: This goal in the other Eastern Conference Semi-Final series.