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Category: Tampa-Bay-Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning Advance To Round 2 Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 to win the series 4-3.

As I have said, you have to knock out the champ.  Toronto played well but...their last series win was 2004.

Here are the game highlights and the handshakes are below.

 

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It’s Win Or Go Golfing For The Tampa Bay Lightning

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

Hockey fans understand misery. In a twisted sort of way, they embrace it.

When you worship the Stanley Cup above all else, the pain and exasperation of falling short can be a trophy unto itself. You measure your devotion by the amount of angst you put in your coffee.

So, no, it will not be the end of the world if the Lightning fall short in Game 6 against Toronto tonight. Even great teams sometimes stumble on their way up the mountain to the top.

And yet, I can’t help feeling there is something uniquely disturbing about this moment. If things do not change in a hurry tonight, the Lightning will have bookended their two Stanley Cups with underwhelming first-round collapses.

Now, it’s unrealistic to expect the winning to continue forever, but it’s not unreasonable to hope a team keeps its foot on the gas until the very end. It’s the difference between disappointment and regret.

And right now, the Lightning would be facing a very long summer of regret.

continued

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Afternoon Line- Jon Cooper

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The Tampa Bay Lightning Are Down But Not Out

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

In a Stanley Cup playoff series filled with stars and backstories, we have been obsessed with the ramifications of penalties and the influence of pressure on Toronto and Tampa Bay.

We wonder about momentum and motivation and mindset.

And we forget that sometimes it just comes down to moments.

Game 5 was like that Tuesday night. For a long stretch, the Lightning looked dominant and their knack for rising to the occasion seemed an integral part of the plot. And then, once again, foolish penalties became an issue and Toronto came roaring back. Both teams scored during a thrilling third period and, for a while, it looked like they might be heading to overtime for the first time in the series.

Until the seemingly mundane chore of taking the puck up the ice cost the Lightning dearly in a 4-3 loss. And, in 48 hours, we’ll know if it cost them a chance for a third consecutive Stanley Cup....

This is new territory for the Lightning. At least this current version of the team. The Lightning have faced elimination only one time in the past two postseasons, and that was a Game 7 at home against the Islanders. The last time they faced the prospect of needing to win both Games 6 and 7 of a series was the 2015 Stanley Cup final against the Blackhawks.

They lost Game 6 that year, 2-0.

“We’re here to win the series,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We lost a game (Tuesday). Like I said, we let this one slip away. That’s on us. But we haven’t let the series slip away, we let a game slip away.”

more

Below are the game highlights.

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Pat Maroon Fined For Unsportsmanlike Conduct

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Video- Corey Perry Fined

Watch below.

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Video- A Feature On Jon Cooper

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The Tampa Bay Lightning Need A Better Nikita Kucherov

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

A funny thing happened on Nikita Kucherov’s way to rescuing the Lightning:

They got worse.

It hasn’t been a dramatic, or calamitous, fall. And I certainly wouldn’t say the fault rests entirely with Kucherov. But you typically expect a positive nudge when your best player returns to the lineup, and we have not seen that often enough with Kucherov.

Tampa Bay’s season can be split almost perfectly in half between games with Kucherov and games without. In 35 games without their star forward, the Lightning have racked up 71.4 percent of their possible points in the standings. In 34 games with Kucherov, the Lightning are at 63.2 percent.

While they were a little wobbly during the two-plus months that Kucherov missed early in the season, the Lightning were at least in first place in the Atlantic Division and challenging for the No. 1 seed on the morning of Jan. 6 when he returned. Today, they are in fourth and seeded No. 7.

So, again, is it fair to point a finger at Kucherov as the source of Tampa Bay’s struggles? Of course not. There are plenty of moving parts on a hockey team, and Kucherov has had moments of sheer brilliance.

But is it fair to suggest Kucherov has not performed to expectations? Oh, heck yeah.

continued

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The Slumping Tampa Bay Lightning

from Joe Smith of The Athletic,

This is what a team that has lost its confidence looks like.

The score is tied with four minutes to go at TD Garden, and the Lightning’s top line is on the ice: Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli. The puck moves up the boards in the defensive zone to Kucherov, who tries to thread a pass up the middle to a streaking Cirelli. The pass is a little behind and bounces off Cirelli’s skate for a turnover. A few seconds later, David Pastrnak scores the game winner, his shot bouncing off Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove. Hundreds of hats get tossed on the ice.

The back-to-back Stanley Cup champs can’t seem to get out of their own way and are struggling to dig themselves out of their recent funk. They’ve lost six of their past eight games and fallen to a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. No, their playoff hopes aren’t in real danger. No, fans shouldn’t be freaking out quite yet.

But there should be some level of concern here for a championship group that has looked like anything but that for a month.

continued ($$$)

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Ottawa Trades Nick Paul To Tampa

 

added 7:42pm,

 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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