Tampa Bay Lightning
By Neil Becker
The Tampa Bay Lightning came into the playoffs as the defending champions but were still overlooked by many due to injuries to Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. But the pair were ready to come back and have been the pulse of this team.
The first round saw the first-ever all Florida playoff matchup in the NHL as the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Florida Panthers. The Panthers won the season series between the two clubs, 4-2. The two teams have a lot of offensive firepower and the series showed that with high-scoring games on both sides. But the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to beat the Florida Panthers in 6 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning would then have to face off against the first-place team in the Discover Central Division, the Carolina Hurricanes. But Tampa Bay Lightning made pretty quick work of the Hurricanes as they looked to be the better team in every game. The Hurricanes are still a young team and Tampa’s experience in the playoffs led them to a 4-1 series win.
In the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals, Tampa Bay Lightning ran into a hard-nosed New York Islanders team. The Islanders have come off back-to-back six-game series against the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders’ defensive style of play worked through most of the series, but they struggled to provide much offense with outstanding play by Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning defense only kept the Islanders to two wins in the series.
The Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning will make for an entertaining Stanley Cup Final, with two teams that are built very differently. Montreal will have their hands full, but many of us at The Gouche Live still believe they can pull it off.
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