Yesterday, the NHL announced the full schedule for the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning open their second round matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at 5:00 PM ET in Raleigh. The Lightning will return to Amalie Arena for Game 3 and 4, which are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday respectively.
Heading into tonight’s opening game, many things indicates that this series is going to be a very close. The Lightning received an offensive boost after Nikita Kucherov’s return and their power play so far has been very effective this postseason, converting on 40% of their opportunities. The Canes, however, is traditionally a very strong team at 5-on-5, and given the Lightning’s struggles at full strength against the Florida Panthers, this could be their biggest issue in the upcoming series.
Yesterday, Geo took a deeper look into this season’s performances of both teams as he tried to predict the outcome of the series [Raw Charge]
This is going to be a tough series. There’s no doubt about it. Lightning seem to have a slight edge at forward and a definite edge in net. The blue line has some potential to be a liability for the Lightning that Carolina can exploit. The Lightning will need Andrei Vasilevskiy to continue to play at his peak performance level and get more offensive contributions from up and down the line up, especially if Point and Kucherov have any slow down in their offensive production.
Justin went even further, previewing every game of the second round. He also believes that the Lightning will beat the Canes [Raw Charge]
Prediction: Lightning in 7. That’s right, it’s a homer pick. I don’t care. This should be a really good series, think of the skill we saw in the Florida vs. Tampa Bay series without the garbage hits and after-the-whistle idiotic play. The Hurricanes have a really solid blue line and some exciting forwards. They like to play up-tempo hockey. Nedeljkovic is the question mark. His peripheral numbers weren’t great against the Predators, but he made the saves they needed. The Lightning will finally lose two games in a row, but still emerge with the victory when Tyler Johnson scores twice in Game 7.
Some of the prediction models doesn’t have so much faith in the Lightning. Micah Blake McCurdy’s model gives the Lightning just a 43 percent chance of winning the second round.
The Lightning players had a media availability after yesterday’s practice and talked about the series against Carolina. Kucherov admitted that it took him a few days to adjust to the game, but after two games he felt normal.
Steven Stamkos denied that due to Kucherov’s regular season absence, the Panthers weren’t able to prepare for him in the first round, noting that everybody should know what a world-class caliber player like him could bring to his team. He added, “It’s one thing to watch him on tape, it’s another thing to try go out there and execute to stop it when a player is that smart and ahead of the most players on the ice in terms of what he’s thinking“.
Jon Cooper said that the team need secondary scoring to advance to the next round, and that they benefited from the return of Barclay Goodrow.
The Orlando Solar Bears took a revenge after yesterday’s loss to the Florida Everblades, beating them 6-4 on Saturday night.
The Canadiens forced a game seven after defeating the Leafs in overtime in front of 2,500 fans. The Canadiens blew a two-goal lead in the third period, and while the Leafs were clearly a better team in the overtime, an unfortunate mistake by Travis Dermott led to the Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s game-winning goal at 15:15 of overtime,
The Bruins opened the second round with a big win against the Islanders. David Pastrnak scored a hat-trick, David Krejci registered three assists, and Ilya Sorokin’s 35 stops couldn’t save the Isles from a loss.
5:00 PM ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN
8:00 PM ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN