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Lightning Round: Oilers swept, Islanders and Leafs take leads in their series

The Lightning get a breath and come back fresh on Wednesday.

Winnipeg Jets v Edmonton Oilers - Game Four
WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 24: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets scores the game-winning goal against Mike Smith #41 of the Edmonton Oilers during the overtime period in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 24, 2021 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Photo by David Lipnowski/Getty Images

For a turn of pace, the Tampa Bay Lightning ran into a goaltending duel in Game 5 against Spencer Knight and the Florida Panthers. The Lightning held a 1-0 lead early, but the Panthers rallied a couple times and used a power play to break the game and ultimately come away with the win. The series goes to Game 6 tomorrow night in Tampa Bay where the Bolts have another chance to win the series. [Raw Charge]

“Spencer Knight stopped 37 of 38 shots from the Tampa Bay Lightning and became the youngest goaltender to win his playoff debut in an elimination game. The Florida Panthers scored twice in the second period to overcome a one-goal deficit and extend the series to a Game Six with the 4-1 victory. Ross Colton scored the lone goal for the Lightning just 53 seconds into the game while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves on 37 shots.”

After being late additions to the lineup, both Mikhail Sergachev and Nikita Kucherov played for the Lightning in Game 5. The two played 21 and 18 minutes, respectively in the loss. They should be healthy enough to play Game 6 as well, where hopefully the Bolts can dispatch of the Panthers. [Raw Charge]

“Two very important pieces of the Tampa Bay Lightning will be “good to go” for Game Five against the Florida Panthers on Monday night after they left Game Four early on Saturday. Nikita Kucherov, who left after being slashed on the leg by Anthony Duclair, and Mikhail Sergachev, who left after being checked into the boards by Patric Hornqvist, both were on the ice for the Lightning’s morning skate.”

Despite holding the lead from early on in the game, the Lightning did well to out-shoot the Panthers throughout the game. Unfortunately, a lack of pace in the final third of the ice to improve those shots into chances and probably more importantly a lack of penalties held the Lightning back from making the game closer than it actually ended up being. [NHL dot com]

“I think we just hung onto it a little too long and they got into a defensive structure and they’re good,” Point said. “Once they’re in that structure, they’re tough to get around. Their D have good gaps, their forwards come back hard, it’s tough to skate in. Once they’re in that structure, it’s tough. I think we’ve got to play a little bit faster to catch them on their heels a little bit and hopefully get more zone entries with possession.”

Yesterday’s Games

New York Islanders 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (2OT) — NYI lead series 3-2

The Penguins are a good team, and likely carry a better skater group than the Islanders, but where they lose is in the goaltending. This game, like the last lost, saw Tristan Jarry give up some really bad goals, especially the overtime winner on a gaffe from an excursion out of the net that never needed to happen. The Islanders have a chance to close out the series on Wednesday. [Pensburgh]

“Just a brutal way to end. The Pens outshot the Islanders 50-28. High danger chances were 16-5. But they couldn’t get the last shot of the game. Usually a double OT game comes down to the crucial mistake, and it was Jarry who made it. On the other end, Sorokin was about flawless. Tough way to fall down 3-2 in the series.”

Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Montreal Canadiens 1 — TOR lead series 2-1

Turns out the Leafs can win a 2-1 game in the playoffs. Jack Campbell outdueled Carey Price to the tune of 28 saves on 29 shots while Price made 27 saves on 29 shots. William Nylander scored his third goal in as many games (despite losing both his linemates John Tavares and Nick Foligno to injury) to open the scoring and Morgan Rielly scored the game-winner. The Habs defense tried to bully Auston Matthews, who once again just laughed and laughed. [Pension Plan Puppets]

“The Maple Leafs eeked out a win here, despite the lack of get up and go in the third period. The Canadiens owned the game for the third and the two minutes with six skaters was incredibly stressful. Play a full sixty tomorrow night Leafs.”

Minnesota Wild 4, Vegas Golden Knights 2 — VGK lead series 3-2

The Minnesota Wild brought themselves back into their series with the Vegas Golden Knights thanks to a road win in Game 5. Cam Talbot saved 38 of 40 shots for the win. The Wild could only manage 13 shots (14 with the empty net), but Marc-Andre Fleury only saved 10 of those in the loss. The Wild did their offense in the first period — goals from Kirill Kaprizov, Zach Parise, and Jordan Greenway — and coasted on that lead the rest of the way. [Knights on Ice]

“The Vegas Golden Knights came up short against the Minnesota Wild on Monday as they fell 4-2 in the first potential elimination game. The win brings the Wild closer to the Golden Knights, but Vegas still holds a 3-2 series lead. The Golden Knights were the better team throughout much of the game, limiting the Wild to just 14 shots, half of them coming in the first period.”

Winnipeg Jets 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (3OT) — WPG win series 4-0

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are swept from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four games by the Winnipeg Jets. Kyle Connor scored the series winner in triple overtime. The Oilers have one series win in their last 15 seasons and go out as a #2 seed going out winless. The Oilers were able to push three of the four games to overtime, but the last two were blown leads, including the infamous 4-1 lead with 10 minutes to go.

I describe the Oilers as a frail team. Strong and somewhat competent at the top — they’ll hit certain achievements in terms of goals in a game and shots thanks to McDavid — but when the opposing team rallies, the pressure builds, and three goals in the first half of the game isn’t enough, then it comes crashing down and they have no answer. There’s also a lot of players on the roster that can only look good next to McDavid, and he can’t play with everyone all the time. The majority of the lineup can’t be trusted with real minutes, leaving a handful of forwards and defensemen to do all of the work. Darnell Nurse played 60 out of a possible 126 minutes in the loss because the third pair was benched in the third period.

There’s a lot of roster construction that needs to be done first and foremost. Graduating rookie prospects won’t get them a 2C and 3C and the accompanying wingers, they need established, quality NHL players. We’ll see if they do something, but it sounds like they can’t. [Copper and Blue]