Lightning Round: Dallas Stars advance to Western Conference Final with 2-1 win over Seattle
That was a fun one to watch.
In a series where the combined scores averaged more than 8 goals per game in the first six meetings, it was a tense, low-scoring affair that decided things in Game 7. Jake Oettinger bounced back from getting pulled in Game 6 to stop 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. With the win the Dallas Stars advance to the Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Phillip Grubauer stopped 26 of 28 and his teammates blocked 21 shots in front of them as Seattle hung in there until the bitter end. The loss ends a heck of a run for the second-year team that saw them knock out the defending Stanley Cup champs in Colorado and then take the Stars to the limit.
After a scoreless first period that was tilted mostly in Dallas' favor, the Stars finally broke through in the second period when Esa Lindell's pitching wedge from his own zone checked up just short of the Seattle blueline. Jamie Oleksiak was able to get his stick on it, but was off-balance and a speeding Roope Hintz picked it off his twig and zoomed in one-on-one and beat Phillip Grubauer cleanly.
Dallas protected that lead in the third period by shutting down the neutral zone and allowing Seattle absolutely nothing offensively (just 15 scoring chances all game long). With under 10 minutes in the game the Kraken did start to push the offense a bit and force Oettinger to work harder, but then Wyatt Johnston beat out an icing and then went backhand, short side, under the bar for a tremendous goal.
With the empty net, Oliver Bjorkstrand finally found the back of the net against Oettinger to deny the shutout and cut the lead to one with 17.6 seconds to go. Despite the heart-seizing finale for their fans, the Stars closed out the victory. It'll be Vegas and Dallas in the Western Conference Final starting on Friday.
The full schedule:
Lightning / NHL News
SWOT-ing the Bolts [Raw Charge]
Prior to the off-season we take a look at some of the Lightning's strengths and weaknesses.
Water Street Tampa economic impact totals $520M, report [Tampa Bay Times]
Not exactly hockey news, but since Jeff Vinik is an investor, it does affect the Lightning.
Dubas says Toronto or nowhere [Pension Plan Puppets]
It was exit interview day in Toronto yesterday and Kyle Dubas spoke about his future at general manager. It was, basically, a shrug. He did dispel rumors of heading to another club (cough, Pittsburgh, cough) by indicating he will return to Toronto or take some time off. Of course, this is all subject to change.
Five years ago, Game 3 [Japers' Rink]
Our friends over at Japers' Rink are reliving their 2018 Stanley Cup run and are midway through the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning. Spoiler alert - Bolts win this one.
Future of Senators, Coyotes will be decided soon [Front Office Sports]
The final bids for the Ottawa Senators were due at the end of business on Monday and reports indicate six groups are in the running to be the new owners of the Sens. Three of the bids reportedly crested the $1 billion mark. Impressive.
Tempe voters to decide Coyotes fate today [GOPHNX]
Craig Morgan recaps the Coyote's eternal quest for a permanent home in Arizona prior to the residents of Tempe voting on three propositions on the proposed arena and entertainment district that will decide the teams future.
IIHF Men's World Championships:
United States 3-2 over Germany
It took a comeback in the third, but the U.S. kept their perfect record alive as Sean Farrell tied it five minutes into the third and Matt Coronato put them ahead 10 minutes later. Michael Eyssimont assisted on the US's first goal by Ronnie Attard.
Canada 2-1 (SO) over Slovakia
Jake Neighbors and Peter Ceharik traded first period goals, but it was a goaltender show from there. Samuel Hlavaj stopped 42 of 43 for Slovakia while Samuel Montembeault stopped 23 of 24 for Canada. Jack Quinn had the winner in the eighth round of the shootout to give Canada the win.
Sweden 2-1 (SO) over Finland
Another close game that took a skills competition to decide. Juho Lammikko tied it early in the third period while Emil Larmi stopped 24 of 25 shots for Finland. Lars Johansson had 27 saves for Sweden and Lucas Raymond had the shootout winner.
Latvia 4-3 (OT) Czechia
Oskars Batna had the overtime winner as Latvia upset the Czech team. Rudolfs Balcers had an assist.