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Playoff Open Thread: June 2nd

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Gotta beat the champs to be the champs

Tampa Bay Lightning v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Last Night’s Game:

Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1, TBL Leads Series 2-0

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.

Tonight’s Games:

Montreal Canadiens @ Winnipeg Jets, 730ET, Series Tied 0-0

Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche, 10ET, COL Leads Series 1-0