Wednesday night, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning disposed of their in-stare rival with a decisive 4-0 victory. The win gave them a 4-2 series win over the Florida Panthers and moves Tampa on to the South Division final where they meet the winner of the series between Carolina and Nashville. The Game 6 victory showed why the Lightning are so scary - they got goals from three different lines while being able to rely on the best goalie in the world to lock down the opponents.
We saw the opposite occur earlier in the night as the Pittsburgh Penguins were let down by their goaltending. The New York Islanders scored three goals in a span of less than three minutes to clinch the series with a 5-3 victory. Tristan Jarry let in a number of weak goals over the final few games of the series and Wednesday night was the nail in the coffin as he looked like a goalie that had completely lost all confidence in himself.
The Penguins badly outplayed the Islanders in this series but as often happens in the playoffs, the inferior team was able to advance thanks to goaltending.
After winning the East Division this season, this loss is a tough one for a Pittsburgh team who is not only nearing the end of the Crosby/Malkin era but also has to deal with watching the one that got away put up a Vezina-worthy season in Vegas.
Speaking of Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights, they have now lost two in a row to the Minnesota Wild and will now have to battle it out in Game 7 Friday night for the right to move on to face the Colorado Avalanche.
Cam Talbot shut out Vegas in a 3-0 victory Wednesday night meaning that the Avs will have another couple of day to rest and prepare for their second round to start.
As for the Presidents’ Trophy winning Avalanche, Wednesday did not bring the best of news as Alex Newhook sat out of practice. The team is calling it a “maintenance day” but Newhook has been battling through a bit of a back issue, so the extra time off will be a good thing for the rookie who will need to carry a heavier load with Nazem Kadri out of the lineup.
We also got the news that Avs forward Jayson Megna has been added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol list. Megna has not played so far in the playoffs but he has been part of the black aces group and has been practicing with the team. Hopefully we get more clarity on the situation today but this is definitely a situation the team and their fans will be monitoring as the week goes on.