Lightning Eliminate Islanders to Advance to Stanley Cup Finals

Sports


EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning eradicated the Islanders on Thursday night time with a 2-1 additional time win in Sport 6 of the Japanese Convention finals at Rogers Place.

The second-seeded Lightning will play the Dallas Stars for the 2020 Stanley Cup.

Anthony Cirelli scored the game-winner with 6 minutes 42 seconds left in additional time, and Victor Hedman additionally scored for Tampa Bay. Devon Toews had the lone aim for the sixth-seeded Islanders, about two minutes earlier than Hedman’s within the first interval. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has performed each minute of the postseason in aim for the Lightning, made 26 saves. Semyon Varlamov had a a lot busier night time for the Islanders with 46 stops, a private postseason excessive.

”Our group believes in each other, and that’s one thing that occurs over the course of time,” Tampa Bay’s Ryan McDonagh stated. “We’re really thankful for this opportunity again to be back in these playoffs coming out of the break, and now that we’re here, really focused and determined to finish the job.”

The Islanders have been the final crew standing from the 16-team qualification spherical within the N.H.L.’s expanded playoff format. Guided by Barry Trotz, who received the 2018 Stanley Cup and is in his second season with the crew, the crew reached the convention finals for the primary time since 1993.

“We just fell a little bit short,” Trotz stated. “I don’t think there’s anything negative except for the result tonight.”

After lacking Sport 5 with an undisclosed harm, Brayden Level, who entered Thursday tied for the playoff lead in factors, returned to the lineup for the Lightning. The Islanders have been with out the workhorse defenseman Adam Pelech, who was a shock scratch. Each groups stayed with the considerably unorthodox lineup formation of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.

On Tuesday night time, the groups battled for 92 minutes 30 seconds earlier than Jordan Eberle’s aim saved the Islanders’ season alive. Two nights later, the 2 groups as soon as once more wanted further time to declare a winner, however this time the Lighting prevailed.

Cirelli had gone to the dressing room with 4:43 left within the second interval after an ungainly collision with the Islanders’ Anders Lee on the blue line. He returned to motion within the third interval and went on to attain the sport winner.

He chipped the puck into the fitting nook after which went to the entrance of the web. He accepted a go from Barclay Goodrow from behind the web and beat Varlamov, sending the Lightning to their second Stanley Cup finals look up to now six years. Tampa Bay misplaced in six video games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015.

“I mean, basically on one leg,” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper stated of Cirelli’s successful aim. “I mean, I know, trying to not disclose injuries. But it was pretty clear what happened on that, and for him to come back was pretty remarkable.”

Sport 6 was an eerie echo of Sport 5, during which the Lightning have been awarded a four-minute energy play with 1:23 left within the third interval. They didn’t convert and finally misplaced the sport on Eberle’s double-overtime winner.

On Thursday, with 1:15 left in regulation, Ondrej Palat simply did not squeeze the free puck between the aim publish and Varlamov’s proper pad. Then, with 23 seconds left on the clock, the Islanders’ Andy Greene was whistled for a double minor penalty after his stick bought up into the face of Nikita Kucherov.

After three intervals, the shot totals have been 42-21 in favor of the Lightning, who had a one-man benefit for the primary 3:37 of additional time. The Islanders’ greatest scoring likelihood got here whereas they have been short-handed, when Brock Nelson stole the puck deep within the Lightning zone and skated in for a point-blank shot, which Vasilevskiy stopped.

“With that penalty, we knew we were going to kill it,” Lee stated.

With 11:11 left in additional time, the Islanders bought their second energy play of the night time when the Lightning have been whistled for having too many gamers on the ice. However they weren’t capable of generate a single shot try with the benefit.

The Islanders had opened the scoring for a fifth consecutive recreation within the collection. At 4:15 of the primary interval, Toews took a go from Lee after which reduce large across the internet earlier than tucking a wraparound shot into the unguarded nook of the web.

Simply 2:13 later, Hedman drew the Lightning even together with his ninth aim of the playoffs. Working alongside the aspect boards, Hedman fed his fellow defenseman Erik Cernak for a wrist shot from the highest of the zone after which cycled into the slot, gathering the massive rebound that got here off Varlamov’s pads and sending it into the web with a wrist shot.

The aim was Hedman’s fourth of the convention finals and tied him for the third most by a defenseman in N.H.L. playoff historical past. Kucherov drew the second help on the aim for his twenty sixth level, shifting into sole possession of first place within the postseason level race.

Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup finals opponent, the Dallas Stars, received the Western Convention on Monday with a 3-2 additional time win over the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights, eliminating them in 5 video games.

Greater than three months after they have been initially scheduled, the Stanley Cup finals will start Saturday in Edmonton.

“When you look back at this — and it’s not over — we’ve been in a hotel for 54 straight days,” Cooper stated. “And when people said this might be one of the hardest Cups to win — it might be one of the hardest Cups ever. There’s two of us left standing. They’re going through the exact same thing we are.”

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