Jacksonville Sports Day

NHL: Bolts Advance, Await Penguins-Caps Winner

TAMPA – Victor Hedman scored twice and Ben Bishop made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Islanders 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season and fourth time in franchise history.

“[This] means a lot, obviously,” Hedman said. “We’re a resilient group and we fought through adversity. I don’t think a lot of people picked us to go this far, especially with the injuries. For us to play as we have on a nightly basis, and we have to keep that going for the next round.” Hedman had four goals and four assists in the series.

Brian Boyle and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning. Kucherov scored a third period goal for the third straight game.

“I think we learned from last year,” Bishop said. “We had a couple of series where we had chances to close it out at home and we let them slip. So I said last series I really want to take pride in closing teams out, and we’ve done it two series in a row.

It was Bishop’s fifth career shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; four of them have come in elimination games, including Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round.

Bishop has recorded a shutout in each of his last four series clinching games; per Elias Sports Bureau, Chris Osgood is the only goalie with five series-clinching shutouts. It was Bishop’s fifth career playoff shutout and he tied Nikolai Khabibulin’s franchise record with his 21st victory.

“You don’t really move on without your best players being your best players,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I thought today was pretty indicative of what Hedman’s done for this team. He was a major factor in us winning today.”

Islanders’’ goalie Thomas Greiss made 21 saves. He was 5-8 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 11 playoff games.

“[The Lightning] took advantage of their opportunities,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “You know we came in here today, I thought the game plan was good. We surrendered 18 shots even strength, and, I mean, if you asked me that going in, we would take it. We gave up seven on our power play, but you know we just couldn’t find a way here these last few games to score some goals. At the end of the day, like I said, you have to get more than one, and we didn’t get any today.”

The Lightning won the best-of-7 series 4-1. They will play the winner of the second-round series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh leads the series 3-2 with Game 6 on Tuesday.

GAME NOTES: The Lightning have been without center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman the entire postseason… Each team scored six goals in the first period in the series, but the Isles were outscored 15-2 for the rest of the game … Kucherov now leads the playoff with nine goals… NY captain John Tavares was held pointless in the final four games of the series….Hedman finished the series with eight points (4-4-8) as he recorded only the third multi-goal game by a defenseman in Tampa Bay history. No Lightning defender had four career playoff goals when this series began… …The Lightning have won both playoff series from the Isles in 5 games; the last time that Tampa beat the Isles in the playoffs, they went on to win the Stanley Cup…The Isles fall to 20-26 all-time when facing elimination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *