Quick Strikes: Tongue Depressed

Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on to the Eastern Conference Final!

The Bolts

This morning there is a ton of analysis, moonwalking of people who picked the Bruins to advance, and hand-wringing by Boston fans in general, due to the satisfying conclusion of the series between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. I’ll try to pull out the most interesting parts of each article for your quick-read enjoyment.

Lightning defeat Bruins 3-1 to move on to the Eastern Conference Final. [Raw Charge]

Beating Boston in five games is impressive. And these weren’t fluke wins. The Lightning outshot Boston comfortably at 5v5. They got better shots. They deserved to win. Despite being the last team to start their second round series, the Bolts are the first to finish it. And now they’ll wait for the winner of the Penguins and Capitals series where the Caps currently lead three games to two.

The Lightning are making it look so easy. [SBNation]

They’ve been so ruthlessly efficient that their success in these first two series has never been in serious doubt. They’ve cobbled together a neat goal differential of plus-10 in 10 playoff games. They’ve given up two or fewer goals in five of them and scored at least three in all but two. Their two losses in the playoffs have been duds, but their scoring margin in the other eight games they’ve played is a hilarious 31-14.

Lightning-Bruins: How Tampa Bay beat Boston at what it does best. [TBO.com]

Going into the series, this was where the Lightning were most vulnerable. Tampa Bay ranked 27th in the NHL in penalty kill, and the Bruins’ power play ranked fourth. Boston scored six power-play goals in their four wins against Toronto, and they’d gone 3-for-5 in the previous two games, getting their only goal Sunday again with the man advantage.

Boston Bruins eliminated by Tampa Bay Lightning: What went wrong for Boston in disappointing series defeat? [Mass Live]

Not only did the Point line spearhead a suffocating forecheck that kept Bergeron and Co. off the scoresheet in 5-on-5 play, the trio also finished the five-game series with seven goals and 13 points.

Bruins’ season ends with a playoff disappointment [Boston Herald]

“When we win or lose, you have to take responsibility. You can’t just blame that on the referees,” said Bergeron, who nonetheless felt he was hooked on a great opportunity late in the third period. “We’re professionals and we know where we could have been better. That’s how we should handle this.”

Bill Speros: Brad Marchand needs a tongue-lashing [Boston Herald]

But Marchand took zero shots on goal in the Bruins’ 3-1 elimination loss yesterday. Zero. He was reduced to a meme in which the Rolling Stones’ logo replaced the spoked “B” on his uniform and a kid in Tampa wearing a fake Marchand jersey and a dog cone.

Tampa Bay’s Shadow line was on Point. [Boston Globe -- Erik Erlendsson?!]

“Can’t really give them enough [credit], that is a very tough matchup for them against that Bergeron line,’’ Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan said. “Without Pointer’s line, we are not even close in this series. That line was huge for us.’’

After a Dismal Series Start, Tampa Bay Quickly Regrouped to Reach Eastern Conference Final [Sports Illustrated]

Unlike the underdog Mexican army that valiantly fought back its foreign invaders despite a sizable disadvantage in both weaponry and manpower 156 years ago, the Lightning were hardly overmatched entering Sunday afternoon at Amalie Arena. And unlike the ruthlessly discerning expansionist zeal of James Polk, the Bruins were ultimately unequal to their aspirations of aggrandizement, though this may have helped Boston avoid the sectional conflict as to whether to admit Florida to the union as a slave state had the Bruins made it to round 3.

Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Boston Bruins, will face winner of Capitals and Penguins. [RMNB]

Tampa and Washington last met in 2011, when the Guy Boucher-led Bolts team defeated a Michal Neuvirth-backstopped Caps team in a sweep. With the best record in the east, the Lightning will have home ice regardless of their opponent.

Lightning Eastern Conference finals tickets go on sale Monday [Bay News]

The Lightning hold home ice for the third round and will play Games 1, 2, 5* and 7* (*if necessary) at AMALIE Arena. There will be a maximum of four home games played during the Eastern Conference Final. The team will offer some pre-sale tickets beginning at 2 p.m.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch gave up a touchdown at home to the Toronto Marlies in game 3 of their second round series. The Crunch are now on the brink of elimination after the 7-1 loss. [Raw Charge]

A full recap will go up sometime in the morning at Raw Charge, but in the meantime, Hardev wrote a Marlies version of the recap thats on Pension Plan Puppets.

The coach and several players spoke after the game. [Auburn Pub]

“You’ve got to turn the page,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “It’s one of our worst games of the year. But again, you’ve got to give credit to Toronto. They won a big game last night and carried the momentum over. They jumped on us and we weren’t ready to play.”

Game 3 for Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk goes today!

The Game

The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Western Conference Finals. In other news, here is a collection of tweets.

Throw in some salty fans of other teams:

And you get the:

These Knights aren’t a fluke. [SB Nation]

Given that every team has 23 players and most of them have more than 11 who are at least somewhat useful, the Knights were set up to get some solidly average players. They also figured to be able to capitalize on other teams’ bad contracts, taking players who were good but not good enough to justify their salaries on cap-strapped teams.

Oh, right, and the recap of game 6 where they shutout the San Jose Sharks 3-0. [Fear The Fin]

The Sharks needed anything at this point to hold off elimination. It did not work and by midway through the third it was all Vegas. Martin Jones cleaned up mess after mess and it got to the point where the fans rained down boos. The lackluster play continued, with the Sharks’ spirits all but broken. For good measure, the Sharks hit one last post.

Highlight of the Night: Epic.