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Lightning Round: Bolts sweep, but who’s going the distance?

Can the Rangers and Canes give the Lightning a full week off?

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Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Four
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 24: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers celebrates is goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on May 24, 2022 in New York City The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-1.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last night the St. Louis Blues came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in overtime in Denver. They forced a sixth game in the series despite an outrageous hat trick from Nathan MacKinnon and a roaring crowd supporting Nazem Kadri. Tyler Bozak scored the overtime winner, with Robert Thomas getting the late tying goal.

That was the only game last night after the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Florida Panthers.

Tonight, we will see the Rangers and Hurricanes battle it out for the series lead after going even-stevens for the first four games. Out West, the Oilers are going to try and send the Calgary Flames home in five games tonight in Calgary.

At the moment, few expect the Avalanche or Oilers to have to play to seven games in this series, while many are convinced the Rangers/Hurricanes is going the distance. I think the Flames might come all the way back, I don’t expect the Blues to last much longer. And if the Rangers steal a win on the road, the Hurricanes haven’t won outside their barn all postseason and will have to be in New York for Game 6.

For Lightning fans, the scenario is seven games for Carolina and New York would be perfect because it would mean maximum rest for the team, especially for Brayden Point. Game 7 for the other Eastern series is next Monday, meaning at least eight days of rest for the Bolts.

I wrote about the Lightning’s playoff opponents during this undefeated run, ranking them from 1-10 in terms of the competition they put up. A lot of you thought the Leafs were the hardest out the Lightning have had to face since 2020, something I don’t think a lot of Leafs fans believe. Meanwhile, it was a toss-up between Florida and Montreal for the worst opponents. A lot of you read this article and I’m very grateful. [Raw Charge]

“All the Lightning had to do to beat the Panthers was close the slot on the power play and let them take point shots, block shots and clear rebounds, and force the Panthers to play defense when they overextended themselves. Even I could see that.”

Here’s what the Bolts had to say after their sweep of the Panthers. We have transcripts from Vasy and Stamkos’ press conference. [Raw Charge]

“[Vasilevskiy]: Our fans gave us so much energy throughout the playoffs, they were unbelievable once again tonight. It’s so much easier to play when there’s a good buzz at our arena. Just great energy from the boys, from the fans, and the family.”

This was a really interesting interview with Dave Randorf (among others) on being a local broadcaster vs being a national broadcaster. There’s more emotion in his voice, and it definitely comes through on the broadcast, IMO.

“I must admit, after years of not really caring who wins the game, it’s fun again,” Randorf said. “I love the games, all national guys love doing the games and love the game itself. But you don’t care who wins. As a team broadcaster, it’s fun again, caring who wins. This is why we all got into this business in the first place, because we were fans. I’m not ashamed to say that I care when the Lightning win now. It’s fun and I enjoy it.”

Last Night’s Results

St. Louis Blues 5-4 OT over Colorado Avalanche — COL up 3-2

Tonight’s Games

New York Rangers @ Carolina Hurricanes
Series tied 2-2, 7:00pm, ESPN, SN
Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames
EDM up 3-1, 9:30pm, ESPN, CBC

Here is that insane goal from MacKinnon, blowing by all five players and beating the goalie short side high. McDavid has some competition at the top when it comes to that move in a game.

Here’s the support from Avs fans for Kadri.

And we nearly lost a legend in Jaromir Jagr after he was in a car crash with a tram the other day. Thankfully, he’s still alive.