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Lightning Round: The Bolts won again in Toronto

They survive blowing a 2-0 lead.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 2-0 lead again on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins, although a Tyler Johnson goal has avoided an overtime this time. As usual Matt did a great recap of yesterday’s game [Raw Charge]

It is great that the Lightning have gone 2-0-0 in the round robin, but there are issues to talk about. First and foremost blowing two consecutive two goal leads is worrisome regardless of the outcome. Second, Vasilevskiy’s struggles with point shots and controlling the rebounds needs to be sorted out quickly. Everywhere else he’s been very good at, but teams have exploited this weakness since last post season.

The Lightning’s Alex Killorn and Ryan McDonagh reflected on their performance in the last game.

Joe Smith of the Athletic consolidated his thoughts after the first two games of round robin [The Athletic, paid content]

That’s two straight victories over Cup contenders in Washington and Boston, both times finding a way after blowing two-goal leads. No matter how it’s been done, it’s hard for Tampa Bay to complain after playing well and staying healthy with one game left (Saturday against the Flyers) before opening the first round next week.

Yesterday’s Other Results

New York Islanders 2-3 Florida Panthers - Islanders lead series 2-1

The Panthers were able to avoid elimination in the third game of the series and extend their stay in the “bubble“ to at least until Friday. Unlike in the previous game the Panthers managed to keep a lead after two early goals in the third period by Mike Hoffman and Brian Boyle. The Isles cut the lead during the last minutes of the period, but Florida survived the pressure and need to make another push tomorrow.

Nashville Predators 1 - 4 Arizona Coyotes - Coyotes lead series 2-1

The Predators dominated their opponent in many aspects of game, including shots on goal, expected goals and high danger scoring chances, however couldn’t convert it into actual goals, scoring their only goal in the middle of the second period. On the other side, the Yotes opened the score early in the first period, when Christian Dvorak redirected a shot past Jusse Saros. The Finnish goaltender, who played the first back-to-back start of his career, allowed three more goals in the third period and the Coyotes took a lead in the series for the second time.

Colorado Avalanche 4 - 0 Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars didn’t have a great start of restart of the season. They have lost all three games since entering the “bubble“, including an exhibition game and two round robin games. In these games the Stars have been outscored 11-3, going scoreless twice. On the other hand, the Avalanche have won all three games in the “bubble” and lead the standings in the Western Conference. The Avalanche’s top line remained relatively silent this time and four different players scored for Colorado, including a Calder Trophy finalist Cale Makar and former Lightning player Vladislav Namestnikov.

Pittsburgh Penguins 2 - 3 Montreal Canadiens - Canadiens lead series 2-1

Another brilliant performance by Carey Price led the Habs to the win in the third game of the series leaving the Penguins just one loss away from the elimination, which would be the first time since 2006 when the Penguins didn’t make the first round. Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead by the middle of the second period but the Canadiens didn’t stop playing and bounced back quickly. Jonathan Drouin didn’t miss his shot this time, Paul Byron beat Matt Murray after skating behind the net and the Canadiens tied the game before the end of the second period. Jeff Petry scored another goal in the third period and the opponent wasn’t able to respond.

Edmonton Oilers 3 - 4 Chicago Blackhawks - Blackhawks lead series 2-1

Arguably most entertaining series of qualifying round has continued on yesterday’s night. Connor McDavid recorded his seventh point of this postseason, Leon Draisaitl scored two goals but the Blackhawks were the better team overall and took a lead in the series for the second time thanks to a Jonathan Toews’ goal at the end of the third period.

Today’s Games

Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild - series tied 1-1

2:30 PM ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N

The Canucks biggest stars have awakened and managed to tie the series in the second game, despite that their opponent almost being able to save the game. The Wild need another stellar performance by Alex Stalock who didn’t look sharp last game, allowing 4 goals on 28 shots.

Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

4:00 PM ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, TVAS, SN360, NBCSP

To have a chance of winning the number one seeding in the first round of playoffs in the Eastern Conference, both teams need to win tonight’s game. The Capitals will be without forward Lars Eller, who returned to Washington for the birth of his child.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues

6:30 PM ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-MW

The Golden Knights look for their third consecutive win in Edmonton and a comfortable lead in the Western Conference. On the other hand the Blues are still getting their confidence together. St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev has also left the “bubble“ due to birth of his child, MacKenzie MacEachern will likely get a chance to start in his absence.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - series tied 1-1

8:00 PM ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN, FS-0

It seems like the Maple Leafs have avoided the Lightning’s scenario from last year and found a way to break the Jackets forecheck, although they’ve been left without Jake Muzzin till the end of series.

Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets - Calgary leads the series 2-1

CNBC, NHL.TV, TVAS, SN

After surprisingly beating the Flames in the second game without Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine, the Jets were totally dominated in the third game and now just one loss away from being eliminated. It’s still not clear if both injured players will be ready for tonight’s game

Other News and Notes

The OHL announced December 1 as the potential start of the next season

The Vancouver Canucks forward Michael Ferland has returned home in Manitoba. Ferland has been dealing with after effects of concussion during previous season.

Jake Muzzin has been released from the hospital yesterday but won’t help his team till the end of qualifying round.