Lightning Round: Are we having fun yet?

Lightning Round: Are we having fun yet?
Nick Paul. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning)

With a slight smile on his face, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper had a question for the reporters who had been lobbing inquiries at him following the Lightning's 4-2 win in Game 5.

"Seriously, wouldn't you guys be p*ssed off if this ended tonight? Let's all be back here for Game 7."

As often is the case with Coach Cooper, his comment rankled opposition fans a bit. While he's not necessarily guaranteeing a Game Six win, he is putting it out the sentiment out there in the world. While that was the fun quote that made everyone laugh, what he said earlier in the answer resonates a little more:

"Let's be honest. This game is so d*mn fun. You have two teams going at it. There are so many storylines. There are stars here."

He's right, for a series that is only five games deep the two teams have packed in a lot of action. There have been 41 goals scored (20 by the Lightning, 21 by the Maple Leafs), 353 scoring chances (198 for the Lightning, 155 for the Leafs), 11 power play goals, a suspension, two overtime games, two blowouts, a three-goal third period comeback, a GM interacting with the crowd, a 1-4 record for the home teams,  spotty goaltending on both sides, and the existential dread of a portion of Leafs' fans who have been shellshocked by a recent run of failure by their favorite team.

The stars for the Leafs have shown up with Mitch Marner racking up 11 points, Auston Matthews with 4 goals, and William Nylander with 7 points and looking absolutely terrifying every time he touches the puck in the offensive zone. For the Lightning, the big guns haven't quite been unleashed yet, although Nikita Kucherov does have 6 points. They've spread their scoring out with 11 different skaters recording a goal.

It might get lost in the stress a little, but this series has been fun! Who knows what tonight's game will bring? Maybe even a Game 7, much to Coach Cooper's delight.

Lightning News

The Lightning Hold On: Morning After Thoughts [Raw Charge]

Geo gives his thoughts on the Lightning's Game 5 win.

The Leafs have awoken 'Elimination Game Vasilevskiy'. Are they doomed? [Daily Face-Off]

Vasilevskiy is 5-1 with a .944 SV% in games where the Lightning face elimination since the start of the 2019-20 playoffs. It's pretty amazing that they've only played 6 elimination games over the last 2+ seasons.

Zach Bogosian steps up, helps to keep the Lightning alive in playoffs [Tampa Bay Times]

Despite seeing youngsters Darren Raddysh and Nick Perbix pass him on the depth chart, Zach Bogosian stayed ready for his opportunity. With Erik Cernak missing games 2-5 with an injury, Bogosian has stepped up to fill the void.

Syracuse drops Game 3, 8-5 [Syracuse Crunch]

The good news is that Simon Ryfors had a hat trick and Alex Barré-Boulet set a franchise record for points in a playoff game with 5 (1 goal, 4 assists). Unfortunately they also allowed 8 goals on 27 shots. They still lead the series, 2-1. Game Four is tonight.

NHL / Hockey News

Who is the top Old Guy Without a Cup? [The Athletic]

Pierre- Edouard Bellemare gets the nod for the Lightning while the Leafs have both Wayne Simmonds and Mark Giordano on their roster. Joe Pavelski (Dallas Stars) gets the number one spot on the ranking.

Remington Group and Ryan Reynolds preparing eye-popping bid for Sens [Ottawa Sun]

One. Billion. Dollars. That's the rumored price that the prospective ownership group is willing to bid. They are also reportedly committed to building a new rink close to downtown.

Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 (OT) over New York Islanders - Hurricanes win series 4-2

Paul Stastny scored in overtime to send the Hurricanes onto the next round where they will await the winner of the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils series. Frederik Andersen returned from an undisclosed injury to make 33 saves in his series debut. Sebastian Aho scored the other goal for the Canes, his fourth of the series.

Florida Panthers 7-5 over Boston Bruins - Series tied at 3

The number-one seed in the Eastern Conference continues to struggle against the second wild card team as the Panthers won a back-and-forth game to push the series to a Game 7. Matthew Tkachuk had two goals and an assist while Eetu Luostarinen scored the game-winner with just under six minutes to go in the third period.

Dallas Stars 4-1 over Minnesota Wild  - Stars win series 4-2

Max Domi, Mason Marchment, Roope Hintz, and Wyatt Johnston provided the offense while Jake Oettinger stopped 22 of 23 shots. After allowing five goals in Game 3, Oettinger and the defense allowed only 3 goals over the next three games.

Colorado Avalanche 4-1 over Seattle Kraken - Series tied at 3

Seattle opened the scoring, but Colorado rebounded with the next four goals to send the series to a Game 7. Miko Rantanen tied things late in the first period. Erik Johnson and Artturi Lehkonen scored the only goals in the second and then Lehkonen finished the scoring with an empty-netter. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 22 of 23 for the win.