Last Night’s Game:
The Carolina Hurricanes conquered the Central Division with an impressive 80 points 56 games; a 117 point pace over a typical 82 game season. They’re a deep team, and they regularly run their opponents off the ice under a barrage of shots. Their first round opponents, the Nashville Predators, were resilient, but the Canes disposed of them in six games. This match-up with the Lightning, this was to be the real test of their mettle. So far, it’s hard to fault Carolina for their efforts, but they also trail 2-0 in the series. Tampa Bay are the defending champions for a variety of reasons, and any one of their many strengths can be enough to win a game on its own. Last night, it was Andrei Vasilevskiy’s turn as the Russian netminder turned away 31 of the 32 shots he faced. Andrei Svechnikov’s goal with 1:30 left in the third period made things a bit tight to finish but close doesn’t count in hockey. Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli tallied for the Bolts.
Full highlights here:
The Hurricanes can usually count on the fact that their sheer quantity of chances will eventually carry the day but Tampa are not most teams: they have an elite goaltender and a group of elite scorers that will punish mistakes. The hockey’s been good, but unless Carolina can figure something out in a hurry in Florida then it looks like this series is shaping up as yet another exhibit of just how tough the Lightning really are.