Vasilevskiy thwarts Panthers to move Tampa Bay into the second round

by | May 27, 2021

Vasilevskiy thwarts Panthers to move Tampa Bay into the second round

by | May 27, 2021

TAMPA – A championship mentality, the cohesion of a stellar set of lines and special teams units and the “elite” play of the NHL’s top goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy saw the Tampa Bay Lightning halt the Florida Panthers, 4-0, on Wednesday night, and win the hotly contested series 4-2.

Vasilevskiy stopped all 29 shots that were fired his way and the Lightning’s fleet of stars performed at the height of their collective abilities.

“That is why he is an elite goalie and the best goalie in the league,” said Lightning center Pat Maroon. “He has a calmness, a poise and he sees every shot. He gives us a chance to win very single night.”

Vasilevskiy also turned away two Panthers power plays as the second penalty kill off of a cross-check on Mikail Sergachev seemed to be the tipping point for the Panthers.

“It’s just fun to watch his work ethic throughout the year and how he competes every single night,” explained Maroon. “He doesn’t lose track of pucks and if he has a bad rebound, he is always there.”

Florida’s power play was a concern for Tampa Bay as the Panthers had converted 6-of-20 opportunities coming into Game 6. The Lightning cleaned things up regarding their own penalties and left Florida only two power play chances.

“They are a skilled group that has you on your heels,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. “Goody (Barclay Goodrow) is a big part of our penalty kill. He won some face-offs and got some pucks down. In the end, zone guys were blocking shots.”

The quick strike was what the Tampa Bay Lightning needed against young Panthers goalie Spencer Knight and they got it.

Tampa Bay’s experiece made this happen at 6:16 in the first period when center Tyler Johnson brought the puck around the net and passed it into the middle off of Mackenzie Weegar’s stick. Maroon took it off the bounce off the top of the stick and gave the Bolts a 1-0 lead.

“That was our best effort so far in the playoffs and the biggest game that we have played so far,” said Steven Stamkos. “That’s what experienced teams do in those situations.”

Stamkos later found the back of the net for his third goal of the playoffs as he blasted a shot past Knight from the left circle at 13:27. Defenseman Victor Hedman had the primary assist while Nikita Kucherov started the scoring play.

Brayden Point finished off the Panthers at 14:36 when Kucherov fed him the backhanded pass as Point was skating toward the net. He used his vaunted stick handling to deek Weegar on the way to driving the puck past Knight, who also fell for Point’s change of direction.

“I think we had a good game plan,” noted Stamkos. “The coaches and players watched video and we changed somethings around. Like I said before, we know how to win in these situations.”

Cooper was glad his team took control of it’s destiny and with that experience, it was like an expectation that the Lightning would strike the Panthers one last time.

“We didn’t want to come and think just because we are on home ice we are going to win,” said Cooper. “That is a flawed way of thinking. We had a plan set and it was 60 minutes of sheer will and compete and to win in this league, that’s what you need.”

Alex Killorn had an empty-netter at 18:18 that turned off the lights on Florida’s season.

 

Photo Gallery: Lightning vs Flyers (12/01/2022)

Photo Gallery: Lightning vs Flyers (12/01/2022)

Steven Stamkos recorded his 1,000th point when he got the second assist on Nicholas Paul’s second goal of the night. He is the first player for the Lightning to hit that milestone. Additionally, he is the fourth fastest active player to reach 1,000 points by doing it in 945 games. Pierre Edouard-Bellemare played in his 608th game in the NHL which set a new record for most games played by a French National. The visiting Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-1 during regulation.

read more
Long-Term Deals and the Importance of Surplus Value

Long-Term Deals and the Importance of Surplus Value

Yesterday, the Dallas Stars signed forward Roope Hintz to an eight-year, $67.6 million contract. The 26-year-old Hintz, one of the team’s leading scorers with 24 points in 22 games, is now locked up in Dallas through the 2030-31 season. Was the contract a good idea for the Stars? The answer is more complex than you might realize.

read more
795 goals and counting: The Alex Ovechkin chase to 800 tracker

The Washington Capitals star is projected to reach the 800-goal mark this season. Follow along as he chases down this accomplishment. [...]

NHL coaching hot seat index: Is Gerard Gallant in trouble?

We take the temperature for all 32 bench bosses, from the blazing hot to the ice cold. [...]

Thompson's 5 goals tie Sabres' single-game high

Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson tied a franchise record with five goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. [...]

Penguins prospect Poulin taking leave of absence

Penguins GM Ron Hextall said 21-year-old Sam Poulin is stepping away due to "personal reasons." He will return home to Quebec and continue to work out on his own. [...]

Pietrangelo out indefinitely due to illness in family

Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is stepping away from the team indefinitely due to an illness in his family, the team announced Wednesday. [...]

Wright scores first NHL goal against Canadiens

Shane Wright, passed over by Montreal with the No. 1 pick in July's draft, scored his first goal for the Kraken against the Habs on Tuesday night. [...]

Avalanche C MacKinnon likely to miss four weeks

Colorado star center Nathan MacKinnon will miss approximately four weeks with an upper-body injury, the team announced on Tuesday night, a day after he left the Avalanche's 5-3 loss to… [...]

Cassidy's Golden Knights end Bruins' record run

Reilly Smith's goal for Vegas in the fifth round of the shootout ended the Bruins' NHL record for home victories to open a season at 14 games. [...]

Marner nets 2, sets Maple Leafs record in OT loss

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner set a franchise record and extended the league's longest active point streak to 19 games Saturday night with two goals in a 4-3 overtime… [...]

Kaplan: Jason Robertson's superstar rise, trade targets and other rumblings around NHL

Young stars have Dallas on the rise, trade chatter is starting to increase and other topics making waves almost two months into the season. [...]

Ever wonder what it would be like if your everyday car was a ZAMBONI?!?!?

Wonder no longer…

Check out The Zambonis' latest hit, "Slow Whip"!