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Lightning Round: Bolts take a lead in the series

Carter Verhaeghe made his playoff debut

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

After a quite frustrating loss on Thursday the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets last night 3-2, taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Joonas Korpisalo wasn’t as sharp as usual, however it still wasn’t easy for the Bolts. Carter Verhaeghe made his postseason debut, working hard every shift and recording an assist on Victor Hedman’s game-winning goal.

Hardev did a great job, recapping the last night’s game [Raw Charge]

Can I say I’m optimistic? Is it possible to be against the Blue Jackets? Considering the Lightning had the lead for the better part of half the game and yet the shot balance (first chart) never wavered away from a straight line in Tampa Bay’s direction, that only says the Lightning were doing something right. All game, I was waiting for voodoo bad luck to show up, and it lifted its head a few times, but it never fell out of kilter because Tampa Bay stayed on brand and stayed focused.

In his postgame interview Jon Cooper also showed a slight optimism

Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy admitted that the penalty kill was one of the main part of success last night.

Yesterday’s Other Results

Boston Bruins 3-1 Carolina Hurricanes – Bruins lead series 2-1

Even without David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask the Bruins earned a deserved win against the Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle opened a score with a baseball-style shot, when Petr Mrazek awkwardly deflected the puck in the air after Brad Marchand’s shot. Sean Kuraly doubled the score early in the third period, scoring during the penalty kill; the Canes responded five minutes later with a power play goal by Nino Niederreiter. All of sudden the Hurricanes got a chance to save the game but struggled to do it, allowing the Bruins to take a 2-1 lead in the series. In addition to other issues, the Hurricanes lost Andrei Svechnikov, who left the game after twisting his leg, while being tangled up with Zdeno Chara.

Colorado Avalanche 2-4 Arizona Coyotes – Avalanche lead series 2-1

Darcy Kuemper put up another sensational performance for the Coyotes, giving them a much-needed victory in the series against Colorado. After a slow start, when the Avs allowed an early goal by Derek Stepan, the team got together and dominated the opponent in most aspects of the game, however it didn’t reflect on the scoreboard. The Avalanche outshot the Yotes 92-39 in shot attempts and 51-23 in shots on goals but Kuemper pulled out a win for his team, making 49 saves.

Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 Chicago Blackhawks – Golden Knights lead series 3-0

After trailing by two goals after two periods, the Blackhawks attempted a late comeback. Olli Maatta cut the deficit in half, scoring a goal with a wrist shot, 6:21 into the third period. The Golden Knights however did a great job, neutralizing the Blackhawks top lines and their potential comeback ended unsuccessfully. Alex DeBrincat was one of the best Chicago players, firing eight shots on goals during the game, but unfortunately for him Marc-Andre Fleury played a solid game too, finishing it game with 26 saves on 27 shots. The Blackhawks are one loss away from elimination.

Today’s Games

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders – Islanders lead series 2-0

12:00 PM ET; USA, TVAS, SN360, MSG, MSG+, NBCSWA

Two years ago the Washington Capitals started their Stanley Cup run after trailing 0-2 in the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s see if they will able to do it again, however Barry Trotz is on the other side of the ice this time.

Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames – Flames lead series 2-1

2:00 PM ET; CNBC, CBC, SN, FS-SW

The Stars are slowly finding their game, they’re mostly controlling the opponent at 5-on-5, but unlike in the regular season, their goalies are playing unconfident and their biggest stars slightly underperforming, which might cost them advancing to the second round.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks – Golden Knights lead series 3-0

6:30 PM ET; NBCSN, SN360; SN1, NBCSCH, ATTSN-RM

The Golden Knights might become the first team advancing to the second round tonight. On the other hand, the Blackhawks probably didn’t even dream about playing in the first round back in March before the NHL pause and can consider this season as relatively successful.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens – series tied 1-1

8:00 PM ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN

Just like the Blackhawks, the Canadiens advanced to the first round mostly through a combination of luck, but unlike them they already proved their ambitions to stay longer in Toronto.

St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks – Canucks lead series 2-0

10:30 PM ET; NBCSN, SN, FS-MW

The Ryan O’Reilly line is still dominant and doing a great job neutralizing the Canucks top line of Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser, but other lines are not able to support them. Vladimir Tarasenko, who returned after a long injury, still doesn’t look like himself, remaining scoreless this postseason.

Other News and Notes

Apparently the Lightning have placed defanceman Oleg Sosunov on unconditional waivers for the purpose of contract termination. The Russian player was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. During the last two seasons he spent time between the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears and couldn’t find his way into regular roster of either team.

The Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has opted out of the rest of the postseason, according to his statement the Finnish player decided to spend more time with his family. The Bruins general manager Don Sweeney expressed full support of Rask’s decision