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Lightning Round: Time to play the match-up game

Who will take the ice against whom and will it matter?

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Seven Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Through the first two games, Coach Jon Cooper has been able to control the match-ups for the most part as he’s had the ability to make the last change. That control will shift to Montreal’s bench for the next two games and it will be interesting to see how they handle that responsibility.

Will they roll the Phillip Danault/Brandan Gallagher/Artturi Lehkonen line against the Lightning’s top line - the Brayden Point line - in hopes of shutting them down? If they do that will that give Yanni Gourde’s line (who had been matching up against the Danault line in Tampa) free reign to bump up their offense a little more? Or will they find themselves against the Nick Suzuki line and try to tie up the young guns on Montreal’s team?

The good news for the Lightning is that Coach Cooper has options and he doesn’t have to worry about it too much. No matter how Montreal plays the match-ups, at least one of the Lightning lines will have an advantage. Shut down the Point line and the Anthony Cirelli or Gourde lines will have an advantageous match. Swap the Danault line to the Stamkos line and who is going to cover the Point line?

If Cooper goes to an 11/7 rotations (assuming Alex Killorn is still out) now he has the opportunity to pick and chose where he sprinkles in his top-six forwards on doubleshifts. The tactical moves will be fun to watch over the next two games.

Lightning Links

The Lightning find a way

Matt breaks down Game Two. They weren’t at their best, but they pulled out the win (thanks to Vasy). That’s what championship teams do.

Vasy is in a league of his own

He’s been the difference in this series so far and the reason the Lightning are up 2-0.

Lightning trades pay off

It feels like we read a lot of these stories last season when the Bolts were running their way through the playoffs on their way to a Stanley Cup. I guess when you don’t change your roster that much, things have to be repeated.

How Brayden Point came to dominate the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Just a reminder that he didn’t receive a single vote for the Hart Trophy this season. Yes, it’s a regular season award, but he’s doing the same thing he did in the regular season.

Hockey Highlights:


While Montreal and Tampa Bay battle it out for the Cup other teams are putting their 2021-22 rosters together. Nashville sent forward Viktor Arvidsson to the Kings in exchange for a second round (2021) pick and a third round (2022) pick.

Filip Forsberg - not a fan of the trade.

Andre Tourigny named head coach of Arizona Coyotes

The rumors of this hiring came out a few days ago, but became official on Thursday as Tourigny gets his shot at running a NHL team from behind the bench. This was a position that Benoit Groulx reportedly interviewed for earlier this year and there was some talk that he might join Tourigny as an assistant coach. If that happens, it will probably be announced after the Stanley Cup Final.

Tom Dundon is sole owner of the Hurricanes

Dundon has been the majority owner of the ‘Canes since 2018. He has since purchased the remaining minority shares and runs the show all by himself now. For the first time since 1994, Peter Karmanos, Jr. doesn’t own any shares at all in the franchise he moved from Hartford.

Montreal to host outdoor viewing parties

Since only 3,500 fans will be allowed inside Bell Centre, the city announced they will host outdoor viewing parties in the city’s entertainment district.

A wrap up of the NWHL draft

Taylor Girard went first to the Connecticut Whale. After recording 69 points in 105 NCAA teams (split between Quinnipiac and Lindenwood University) she will bring some offensive creativity to a team that desperately needs it.