Playoff Open Thread: June 21st

After a thriller in Montreal, the Islanders and Lightning meet tonight to break the series tie.

Yesterday’s Game

Vegas Golden Knights 2, Montreal Canadiens 1 - Series tied 2-2

The Golden Knights and Canadiens met for game four of their playoff semifinal series last night in Montreal. The big story in this one was goaltender Robin Lehner replacing Marc Andre Fleury between the pipes. This move would’ve been greatly questioned had it not been for Fleury’s gaff in game three, leading to a Habs win. Montreal managed to throw 28 pucks at Lehner, greatly outplaying the Golden Knights particularly in the first period, and the Swedish former Senator turned aside all but one. Paul Byron was the Montreal goal scorer, finding the back of the net near the end of the second period, care of a Nick Suzuki assist. It wasn’t until halfway through the third that Vegas got on the board, thanks to some lovely playmaking from former Canadien captain Max Pacioretty. He found Brayden McNabb from behind the net and the game was knotted at one. The game winner went to Nicolas Roy, his fourth of the playoffs. Roy, a 2015 fourth round pick, has been bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL the past few seasons until seeing a full-time role in Vegas this year. He has eight points in 17 games during these playoffs which has provided helpful secondary scoring for the Golden Knights.

Tonight’s Game

New York Islanders @ Tampa Bay Lightning - Series tied 2-2

Tonight, the Islanders and Lightning head into battle with the goal of coming out the other side with a series lead. For the Islanders, the story will be much the same as it’s been for every team that’s faced off against Tampa Bay this postseason - can they solve Andrei Vasilevsky and can they match up with Tampa Bay’s special teams? Vasilevsky has a 0.933 SV% through 15 games, good for first amongst all goaltenders during the playoffs. On special teams, the Lightning have the second best powerplay with a whopping 37.8% success rate while their penalty kill is also rock solid at 80.8%. On the other side, the Islanders have a 23.3% success rate with the man advantage while they really struggle to kill penalties (65.7%). With the success of the high flying Lightning, it’ll be up to the Islanders to do what they do best: play tough, defensive hockey and capitalize on their chances, when they come.

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