Time: 8:00 PM Eastern Time
Location: PNC Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: USA, TVAS, SN
Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country
The Tampa Bay Lightning have beaten the Carolina Hurricanes with an identical 2-1 score in the first two games and, for the second consecutive playoff series, are coming to Amalie Arena with a 2-0 lead ahead of two home games.
In many aspects, this second-round series is similar to the first-round one. Just like against the Panthers, the Lightning are struggling a little bit at 5v5 and have been outshot in each of two previous games. Just like in the previous round, the Lightning have been carried by the stellar performance of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed just two goals in the first two games against the Canes.
On the other hand, the Lightning still didn’t allow any goals at 5v5 as both Carolina’s goals happened either on a power play or at 6v5 during the final minutes of the previous game. The Lightning’s power play, however, wasn’t working as perfectly as in the first round – they capitalized just once with the man advantage, despite having five opportunities. The Hurricanes also did a great job on shutting down the Lightning’s top line. Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov had just one shot on goal each in the last game.
A lot of complimentary words have been said about Vasilevskiy during the past week, deservedly so. After posting a Hart Trophy-caliber regular season, Vasilevskiy’s performance should be right there amongst the early Conn Smythe Trophy favorites Nathan MacKinnon and Connor Hellebuyck. Vasilevskiy has been the main difference this season, saving approximately one goal above expected per game. The Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour also praised Vasilevskiy’s performance, saying that he’s a world-class goaltender and has been dominant this series.
As of Thursday’s morning, we still don’t have any updates on David Savard. The defenseman appeared during the practice ahead of Game 2, but didn’t dress for the game, being replaced by Luke Schenn on the third pair. According to Jon Cooper, he’s expected to return during the series.
The Hurricanes also have some players that are questionable to play ahead of tonight’s game. As of yesterday, Vincent Trocheck was still being evaluated. He left the game after an unfortunate collision with his teammate Warren Foegele on Tuesday, and as Brind’Amour told the reporters, “It doesn’t look good.” Meanwhile, Nino Niederreiter didn’t travel to Tampa with the team and is not expected to return during the series.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Tyler Johnson - Ross Colton
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn
Carolina Hurricanes Lines
Brock McGinn - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Jordan Martinook - Vincent Trocheck (?) - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Taylor Lorentz - Jesper Fast
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Bean - Jani Hakanpaa