The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from advancing after they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4 Saturday afternoon.
Tempers were flaring before the puck even dropped. Warren Foegle and Blake Coleman were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Both knew better and should have said no to avoid 4v4 hockey. You could see the disappointment in Carolina’s head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s face. Tampa Bay went 0 for 2 on the power play through the first frame. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Carolina’s penalty kill was among the most successful. However, we’d see that PK expose themselves come the second period.
Tampa Bay led after 20 with a goal from Brayden Point. There wasn’t much to write home about after the first frame. Though it would not stay that way for long.
Period two was nothing shy of a battle. The teams went back and forth for the entire twenty minutes. Truro Teravainen was the first Hurricane on the score sheet. Jesper Fast would follow suit, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. Game 2 was the first time the Canes had a lead in five games. The inability to take the lead proved to be detrimental. The lead would not last long as Stamkos tied it up at 2 a piece. Dougie Hamilton turned one of his seven shots on goal into a go ahead goal for the Canes. The Hurricanes were able to keep the Lightning off their radar for a little while longer with Jaccob Slavin scoring their fourth goal of the evening. Tampa Bay were in their Reputation Era if you will, when they fell behind 4-2. It was time for them to be methodical and strike back. They would do just that with three unanswered goals to secure a 5-4 lead at the end of the period. Steven Stamkos fought through the eye of the storm’s penalty kill with two power play goals. Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson had a helping hand in the 8 goal period.
Tampa would hold off the storm while Nikita Kucherov scored his fifth postseason goal, securing a 6-4 win over the Canes. The Lightning now hold a 3-1 series lead. With the Canes on the brink of elimination from the second round, there is one thing they must do and that is play a more disciplined game.
Andrei Svechnikov made.the penalty box his home this afternoon, racking up a total of six minutes. The discourse surrounding Svech is a bit troubling. He is 21 years old and while he plays a somewhat undisciplined game, there is room to grow and learn. I know trouble when I see it but I don’t think you have to worry about this being a long term problem. He is 21 years old. He will grow out of his undisciplined penalty phase. Wanting to trade a guy who has 59 regular season goals in his first three years is laughable. This isn’t Zac Rinaldo we’re talking about here. He isn’t this big liability that will weigh the team down every time he enters the line up. It would make sense for him to tighten up his game as he grows into the league. Sorry but I think there is a bit of an overreaction coming from people. Just play a better game as a team and worry about the rest later.