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Lightning Round: Don’t count this team out until it’s over

If we’ve learned anything from the last two years, they usually find a way

NHL: MAY 10 Playoffs Round 1 Game 5 - Lightning at Maple Leafs Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Following their 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Five, many are writing the obituary for the 2021-22 Tampa Bay Lightning. Sure, there is that stat that 79% of the teams that have won Game Five of a series have done on to win that series, but that means 21% of the time the other team does. If there is any team in the league that you shouldn’t write off until the dirt is hitting the coffin lid, it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It hasn’t been the easiest year for them, but so far they’ve managed to find a way to get things done. Whenever their back has been up against the wall they’ve pulled it off. When people were writing off Steven Stamkos he threw up a 100 point season. When injuries to Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov threatened to derail their season early, they found a way. When it looked like Boston was going to kick them down into the wild card they found a way to hold them off. Whenever a losing streak hit them they found a way to right the ship. It hasn’t always been pretty, but they made it to the playoffs

Now they face the biggest test they’ve had in their last three postseasons - back-to-back elimination games. In fact, during their previous two runs they only faced elimination once, in Game 7 against the New York Islanders last year. They pulled that one off, can they do it against the Maple Leafs? Only time will tell.

The first step is to win Game Six. Winning after losses has become their postseason trademark as they haven’t suffered back-to-back losses since 2019. That won’t be enough, though. They actually have to win two games in a row. However, if they do pull off the win in Tampa, think about the pressure that Toronto will face in Game Seven. Will the ghosts of series past haunt them? What if the Lightning jump out to an early lead and a sense of unease wafts through the crowd? A lot of what ifs for sure, but why should we bet against the Lightning now?

I get it, this team looks off. They are taking too many unforced errors and Toronto isn’t letting them off of the hook. Still, this team has shown us what they are made of before. So exercise a little faith in them. Believe that they will find a way one more time. Well two more times.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning drop lead, lose game, trail series [Raw Charge]

After four straight games where the winning team held the lead after scoring the first goal, we finally had a lead change in the Leafs/Lightning series. Unfortunately it was the Lightning losing the lead. They almost pulled off the comeback, but it wasn’t to be.

Was this the turning point? I think this was the turning point.

Vasilevskiy not among the Vezina finalists [Tampa Bay Times]

The finalists for the Vezina were named and for the first time in four seasons Andrei Vasilevskiy was not among them. Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Markstrom, and Juuse Saros were the three finalists. We know Shesterkin is going to win this in a landslide, but it would have been nice to keep the streak going for Vasy.

All the losing was worth it, Canadiens will draft number one overall [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

It looks like Shane Wright will be wearing the iconic Canadiens sweater next season as Montreal won the lottery. New Jersey will be drafting second while Arizona, Seattle, and Philadelphia round out the top five. Columbus has two picks in the top 12 thanks to the first round pick they received from Chicago that ended up being the sixth selection.

Thank you, Hockey [The Players’ Tribune]

After 23 years in the NHL, Patrick Marleau is hanging up the skates. How long of a career is that? He was drafted in 1997, a year before the Lightning took Vincent Lecavalier. That leaves Joe Thornton as the only player left from the ‘97 draft still active in the league.

Jack Eichel played last six weeks with broken thumbs [Knights on Ice]

The Vegas Golden Knights had an epic collapse to their season. Eichel, the big acquisition apparently suffered the injury while blocking a shot against the Florida Panthers on March 17th. Despite the pain, he put up 15 points over the last 19 games as they trailed, but failed, to hold onto a playoff spot.

Last Night’s Other Games:

Carolina Hurricanes 5, Boston Bruins 1, Carolina leads series 3-2

Remember how the ‘Canes didn’t have a chance because Frederik Andersen was hurt? Seth Jarvis scored twice, showing the depth Carolina has and now they have a chance to finish things off tomorrow.

St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 2, St. Louis leads series 3-2

Kirill Kaprizov scored twice on the power play to give the Wild the lead, but a natural hat trick in the third period by Vladimir Tarasenko power the Blues to the win.

Los Angeles Kings 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 (OT), L.A. leads series 3-2

Leon Draisaitl scored twice in the third period to get Edmonton to overtime, but Adrian Kempe ended things just 1:12 into the bonus period with his second goal of the game. Edmonton is flying right into another disappointing playoff year as L.A looks to complete the upset at home on Thursday.

Tonight’s Games:

Another team has a chance to end their series early as the Penguins look to finish off the Rangers. Meanwhile the other two games feature teams that aren’t giving their opponents an inch. The way things are going it looks like there may be quite a few Game Sevens in the first round.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7:00 PM EST, ESPN, CBC

Penguins lead 3-1

Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers, 7:30 PM EST ESPN2, TVAS

Series tied at 2

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames, 9:30 EST, ESPN, CBC

Series tied at 2