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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay will face Florida in the second round

Nick Paul propelled the Lightning to the next round with two goals against Toronto.

NHL: MAY 26 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round - Panthers at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning secured a first-round win over the Toronto Maple Leafs after beating them 2-1 on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto. Nick Paul played probably the biggest game of his career so far, scoring two goals and earning a win for the Bolts. Andrei Vasilevskiy stepped up at the right time, making 30 shots on that night [Raw Charge]

For one more series, the old lion held off the young cubs nipping at his heels. The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their series comeback with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven to win their first round series. Nick Paul scored both goals for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 of 31 shots. Morgan Reilly scored the lone goal for the Leafs while Jack Campbell stopped 24 of 25 in another strong start.

The Lightning will face the Florida Panthers in the second round, this will be their second playoff matchup in two years. On their path to the second round, the Panthers eliminated the Washington Capitals, beating them 4-2 in their first-round series.

Last year, the Lightning defeated the Panthers 4-2 in the first round. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Bolts had a 2-2-0 record against them with Florida outscoring them 19-15 in four games.

Jon Cooper called this series “as evenly matched series as you’re going to see“, praised Andrei Vasilevskiy and how his team never gave the Leafs a chance in this game.

Steven Stamkos gave a credit to the team for their efforts in this game and talked about how horrible it was losing Brayden Point at the end of the first period.

Victor Hedman also mentioned how important Point’s presence was on the bench during the game.

Brayden Point left the game at the end of the first period after falling awkwardly and injuring his right leg. He returned for a brief shift at the beginning of the second period, but after 25 seconds on the ice couldn’t continue the game, remaining on the bench until the end. So far no updates on his status.

Some interesting stats after this Lightning Game 7 victory: Andrei Vasilevskiy improved his ridiculous record in potential series-clinching games to an even more impressive number.

Ryan McDonagh tied for the most Game 7 wins in Stanley Cup playoffs history with former Lightning player Brad Richards and several other names.

The Lightning have now won nine consecutive playoff series since their first-round swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019. Meanwhile the Leafs have lost nine consecutive elimination game.

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The Syracuse Crunch avoided elimination with a confident 3-0 win over the Laval Rocket in Game 4 on Saturday night. The Crunch lost their goaltender Max Lagace, who left the game in the first period, but replaced him with Hugo Alnefelt who stopped all 24 shots. Cole Koepke, Remi Elie and Anthony Richard each scored a goal in this game. The series-deciding Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday.

Yesterday’s Games

Boston Bruins 2, Carolina Hurricanes 3 — CAR wins 4-3

The Canes once again delivered at home ice, beating the Bruins and advancing to the second round for the second consecutive year. Max Domi, who was scoreless this series, scored his first two goals this playoffs and assisted on opening goal by Teuvo Teravainen. Antti Raanta made 27 saves for the victory. The Hurricanes will face the winner of New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins series in the second round.

Los Angeles Kings 0, Edmonton Oilers 2 — EDM wins 4-3

The Oilers advanced to the second round for the first time since 2017, after beating the Kings 2-0 in Game 7 last night. Connor McDavid led his team with goal and assist, Cody Ceci scored a game-winning goal and Mike Smith made 29 saves for his second shutout this playoffs.

Today’s Games

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers — tied 3-3

7:00 PM ET; TBS, SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP, MSG

Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames — tied 3-3

9:30 PM ET; ESPN2, TVAS, SN, BSSW