Key Matchups-

John Tavares and Victor Hedman go head-to-head in this second round matchup. Tavares has the edge by a small margin. In previous matchups against the Lightning he’s narrowly beat Hedman in scoring and possession. Hedman is a two-way defenseman who can create some serious offense. Hedman will be expected to play an excess of 25 minutes per game to keep Tavares at bay while it will also be put on him to up his game offensively and contribute on the power play.

An additional matchup to watch out for is between the team’s respective goalies, Thomas Greiss and Ben Bishop. Both teams have confidence in their goaltenders as they have proven that they can stop pucks to prop their teams up for wins. Greiss gave up just 13 goals on 234 shots in the first round for a 1.79 goals-against average and a .944 save-percentage. Bishop faced 160 shots against Detroit, allowing eight goals in five games for a 1.61 GAA and .950 save percentage. It will be interesting to see how these two do on opposite ends of the ice from each other in this series, but with Bishop posting a save percentage no lower than .916 and a goals-against average no higher than 2.37 in any month this regular season. He has the edge over Greiss.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

The Lightning have proven that one or two players do not make a team’s success by pulling through the first round without their best player Steven Stamkos and their second-best defenseman Anton Stralman. That is a testament to the tremendous depth that this team boasts. Stamkos is unlikely to return during the series; though he has been seen practicing, he is still on blood thinners and cannot take contact as of yet. He has been out since having surgery on April 4th to treat a blood clot near his right collarbone, but the Bolts topline has held up offensively in his absence. Stralman is out with a broken left fibula and the void he left on the blueline has been hard to fill. Stralman is second only to Victor Hedman in importance on the Tampa Bay blueline. He effectively moves the puck and he’s defensively sound while he has the ability to produce offensively, as evidenced by his nine goals and 34 points in 73 games this season. Stralman has not skated since his injury, but may return during this round. J.T. Brown is sidelined with an upper-body injury as well. That all being said the Lightning are not worried without these players as the team has already pushed aside the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the first round. This is a team with depth and no one player carries it through with or without the players currently missing.

Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov made their mark in the first round against the Red Wings, scoring 10 of the Lightning’s 12 goals. Kucherov had five goals, and his eight points led the Lightning. Killorn had three goals, and Johnson tied a Lightning record with four points in Game 2, and had seven points (two goals, five assists) in the series. Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula, and Jonathan Drouin all made contributions. Drouin had four assists in the first round; three came in Game 4, including one on Palat’s game-winning goal. He had 13 shots in the series, but it’s important that they do more to improved secondary scoring to compliment the top line.

The Lightning defense struggled with giveaways in the first round, forcing goalie Bishop to make some difficult saves. Bishop made 34 saves to help Tampa Bay close out its first-round series against Detroit with a 1-0 Game 5 victory. It was the fourth Stanley Cup Playoff shutout of his career and the third to end a series. The Lightning also blocked 82 shots in the five-game series; many of them on the penalty kill, with forwards Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan leading the way. Both teams like to play a fast game and both fight to the finish, so there will be potential for high scoring and overtime.

NY Islanders-

The New York Islanders have not been in the second round since advancing to the Wales Conference Final in 1993. They lost seven straight first round series before ending the Florida Panthers playoff run in six games. John Tavares’ efforts pushed the Isles through the final months of the season with 14 goals, 29 points and an average ice time of 20 minutes over the final 29 games of the Islanders’ season. Tavares then scored when New York needed it most in the post-season. He scored five goals and nine points in six games, and racked up 34:49 minutes in the Game 6 victory.

Right wing Kyle Okposo had a goal and five assists in six games and is expected to be one of the most sought after free agents in the offseason; especially if he continues to perform well in New York’s continued playoff run. Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy form a powerhouse top three; each racking up minutes on the ice. Nick Leddy had three assists in six games and played nearly 80 minutes combined during the final two games of the series, and he boasts a phenomenal skating ability that’s become a great asset to his team. Leddy is paired with Travis Hamonic. Hamonic is solid at both ends of the ice. He played more than 39 minutes in the double-overtime win Sunday. Johnny Boychuk adds experience and leadership as he was a Stanley Cup Champion in 2011 with the Boston Bruins, and although he struggled early in the first round he seems to have found his stride. Calvin de Haan is a smart player and continues to show a willingness to sacrifice himself in order to make a play; de Haan blocked 18 shots in the first round. Secondary scoring will be needed in this round. It will be important for players to get shots on goal even if they aren’t pretty.

Tampa Bay cannot match New York’s muscle and physicality from their blueline to their checking forwards. Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin are brutal on the forecheck. The Isles averaged 43 hits per game in Round 1, more than every team except the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. Tampa averaged 29.

The Islanders were 23.8 percent (5-for-21) with the man-advantage in the first round. Thanks in part to Greiss, New York had a strong penalty kill in the first round going 13-for-15. Jaroslav Halak continues to heal from a lower-body injury as Thomas Greiss’s effectiveness in goal has made the argument that he should retain the starting position in Round 2 regardless of Halak’s health.

Prediction: Lightning in 6

Follow us on Twitter @TristinHuntamer and @BandBHockey

Read our analysis of the Lightning and the Islanders Round 1 matchups to learn more about these teams.

Key Matchup-

Nikita Kucherov vs. Pavel Datsyuk will likely to be the main story of this series. Kucherov has become an offensive threat for the Lightning over the last season. Datsyuk is a legend and still has impressive two-way play and has no issue getting shots on net. The two Russian players will keep the series interesting.

Detroit Red Wings-

Winning Formula: 

The Red Wings thrive when they pursue the puck and keep control the way they had under Mike Babcock. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still two of hockey’s most elite two-way forwards and the Lightning will find their hands full dealing with the two talented players. Dylan Larkin will likely remain a force on the team adding numbers to the scoreboard throughout the series.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less: 

Detroit has been inconsistent over the last year under new coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings were a team with an identity that lead to success before Blashill took over, but since the team has struggled to remember the legacy they are and how they got to that point. They remain a top ten possession team, but they rely heavily on Datsyuk and Zetterberg for wins and when in the playoffs two players aren’t going to keep a floundering team afloat.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

Winning Formula:

Victor Hedman has been a powerful defensive force for the Bolts. Hedman’s partner Anton Stralman fell to injury, but the fan’s shouldn’t be worried overly as Hedman has shown he is capable of doing his job in Stralman’s absence leading up to this series. Steven Stamkos is out one to three months with a blood clot and he will be missed, but fortunately for the Lightning have tremendous depth and are able to produce from every line.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  

The power play seems to be the bane of the Lightning’s existence. As of late March, they were third in the league in time spent on the power play while they had the worst success rate of all the teams in the playoffs on the power play. The Lightning focus heavily on defense during the power play and lose the opportunity for offensive production.

Prediction: Lightning in 6

Follow us on Twitter @TristinHuntamer and @BandBHockey

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  • The Flyers beat the Bruins 5-4. Claude Giroux scored his second power-play goal of the game at 2:09 of overtime to give Philly the win. Giroux one-timed a shot past Tuukka Rask from the left circle with Ryan Spooner off for hooking. Philadelphia overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period. Giroux cut it to 4-3 at 7:48, and Wayne Simmonds tied it at 9:36. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Sam Gagner also scored for the Flyers. Chris Kelly, Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston.
  • Sabres beat the Maple Leafs in a shootout, 2-1. Evander Kanetied it with 4:29 left with his first goal for Buffalo, and Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis scored in the shootout to beat Toronto. Kane pushed a wrist shot past goalie Jonathan Bernier. Chad Johnson made 23 saves to help Buffalo improve to 2-4. P.A. Parenteau scored for Toronto, and Bernier made 34 saves.
  • Jason Spezzascored his fifth goal of the season as the Stars beat the Penguins 4-1. Johnny Oduya and John Klinberg scored their first goals of the season and Mattias Janmark got his third. Antti Niemi stopped 33 shots. Nick Bonino scored for Pittsburgh.
  • The Rangers beat the Coyotes 4-1. Kevin Hayesbroke a tie early in the third period. Chris Kreider, former Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and Rick Nash also scored for New York. Nash’s goal was his 700th career point. Mats Zuccarello added two assists. Henrik Lundqvist contributed with 34 saves. Klas Dahlbeck scored for Arizona.
  • Thomas Vanekbroke a tie in the second period and the Minnesota to beat Columbus 3-2. Zach Parise scored 5:04 in. After Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky countered for Columbus, Nino Niederreiter tied it, and Vanek scored the winner with 8:48 left in the second. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves; while Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for the Blue Jackets.
  • Blackhawks beat the Panthers 3-2. Patrick Kaneand Brent Seabrook each had a goal and two assists. Artem Anisimov also scored for the Stanley Cup champions, and Corey Crawford made 16 saves. Jaromir Jagr and Vincent Trocheck scored for Florida.
  • The Capitals beat the Canucks 3-2 when Alex Ovechkinbroke a tie with 4:55 left. Jay Beagle pulled Washington even at 5:42 of the third, and Ovechkin won it with his fifth goal of the season. Jason Chimera scored in the first for the Capitals, but Radim Vrbata and Henrik Sedin each had a goal and an assist in the second for Vancouver. Braden Holtby made 23 saves for Washington.store2
  • The Devils beat the Senators 5-4 in a shootout. Lee Stempniaktied it with 32 seconds left in regulation, and then contributed the winning goal in the shootout. Adam Henrique pulled New Jersey within a goal with 5:50 to go. Travis Zajac and Jordin Tootoo also scored, and Cory Schneider made 35 saves for the Devils. Chris Neil and Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Mika Zibanejad scored for Ottawa. Andrew Hammond made 28 saves.
  • The Predators beat the Ducks 5-1. Colin Wilsonand Ryan Ellis each had a goal and two assists while Mattias Ekholm and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist, Eric Nystrom also scored. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for the Preds. Jiri Sekac had the only Anaheim goal.
  • The Canadiens beat the Sabres 7-2. The Habs Andrei Markovcontributed a goal and four assists. Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise each scored twice, and Max Pacioretty and Torrey Mitchell also scored. Mike Condon made 34 saves, and K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec each had three assists. Matt Moulson and Ryan O’Reilly scored for Buffalo, and Cody Franson had two assists.
  • The Bruins beat the Islanders 5-3. David Pastrnakbroke a tie late in the second period. Brett Connolly, Joonas Kemppainen and Ryan Spooner also scored for Boston. Jonas Gustavsson, started in place of Tuukka Rask, and finished with 23 saves. David Krejci had an empty-netter with 2:25 remaining. Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas and Thomas Hickey scored for the Islanders.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsovhad three goals and two assists to help Washington beat Edmonton 7-4. Kuznetsov opened the scoring on a backhander at 3:05 of the first period, gave Washington a 4-3 lead with another backhander at 6:17 of the second, and completed his first career hat trick with a snap shot on a power play with 3:01 left in the third period. Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams also scored for Washington, and Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves. Rookie star Connor McDavid scored his fifth goal of the season for Edmonton. Benoit Pouliot, Rob Klinkhammer and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored.
  • The Flames beat the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime. Mark Giordanoscored his second goal of the game in overtime. Joe Colborne tied it for the Flames with 1:12 left in the third period. Giordano scored 3:12 into overtime. Jonas Hiller contributed 27 saves for the Flames. Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith scored first-period power-play goals for the Red Wings.
  • The Lightning beat the Jets 4-3 in overtime. Ondrej Palatscored 36 seconds into overtime scoring off a 3-on-1 rush, converting a tap in after a tic-tac-toe play with Steven Stamkos. Victor Hedman. Braydon Coburn, Cedric Paquette and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored, and Ben Bishop made 33 saves. Nikolaj Ehlers, Drew Stafford and Blake Wheeler scored for the Jets.
  • Rangers beat the Flames 4-1. Dan Girardiput New York ahead 2-1 with 3:03 left in the second. Girardi was recently demoted to the third defense pairing with Keith Yandle, he snuck down to the right circle and snapped a rebound of Emerson Etem’s shot past Jonas Hiller.. Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Klein and Derick Brassard also contributed goals. Antti Raanta made 22 saves. Jiri Hudler scored the Flames’ only goal.
  • The Jets won 5-4 against the Wild. Drew Staffordscored twice and Blake Wheeler had two assists. Minnesota’s Jason Zucker scored 10 seconds into the game, but then Winnipeg got five consecutive goals. Bryan Little tied it 1:22 into the first, Andrew Ladd scored about 2 minutes later and Nikolaj Ehlersmade it 3-1 Jets (5-2-1) midway through the period. Stafford scored 51 seconds into the second, chasing Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper. Stafford scored again on Devan Dubnyk just under 4 minutes later. Wheeler extended his season-opening point streak to a franchise-record eight games. Michael Hutchinson made 26 saves for Winnipeg. Mikko Koivu, Justin Fontaine and Zach Parise also scored for Minnesota.
  • The Kings beat the Oilers 3-2. Tanner Pearsonbroke a tie late in the third period with his first goal since breaking his leg last season. Pearson’s power-play goal put the Kings ahead with 3:26 left. He found the rebound from Jake Muzzin’s shot and slapped it past goalie Cam Talbot. Connor McDavid nearly tied it for Edmonton with 5.2 seconds left, but Jonathan Quick sprawled to catch his backhander right at the goal line. A replay review upheld the no-goal call. Taylor Hall tied it for Edmonton on the power play. Hall redirected a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for his third of the season, and Pearson scored than 3 minutes later. Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings. Drew Doughty had two assists. Benoit Pouliot scored in the first period with the help of McDavid.

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This will be the first time since 2011 that the Lightning will have been in the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers have been in the conference final three times in the last four seasons. The Lightning haven’t reached the Stanley Cup Final since 2004, when they won the championship with forward Martin St. Louis as their leading scorer and Dan Boyle as their top defenseman; both of whom now play for the Rangers. While former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, center Brian Boyle, and defenseman Anton Stralman are now play for the Lightning. Callahan was traded to the Lightning in a transaction that brought St. Louis to New York on March 5, 2014. Boyle and Stralman signed with the Lightning as free agents this summer after helping the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final last season, where they lost to the Kings in five games. Tampa Bay and New York have not played each other since playing three times between Nov. 17th and Dec. 1st. Tampa Bay won all three games by a combined 15-8. Both teams have the benefit of speed so expect great skating, but both teams have dealt with outlying factors such as injuries and performing poorly or better in areas of the game contrary to the way they played during the regular season.

newsletter_usTampa Bay Lightning-

How they got to the Eastern Conference Final: The Lightning needed 13 games to reach the conference final. They trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in the first round before winning in seven games, and built a 3-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the second round before clinching in Game 6. We learned that Tampa Bay is an adaptable team and doesn’t just rely on one formula to win. They have leaned heavily on goaltending from Bishop who has stepped up to the occasion. Stamkos did not deliver in the series against Detroit, but ended round 2 on a five-game point streak, contributing three goals and seven assists in 13 playoff games. Tyler Johnson has had a phenomenal post season for the Bolts leading the league with eight goals, and sitting 3rd overall with 12 points.

How they can get to the Stanley Cup Final: This team can push forward leaning on goaltending from Ben Bishop, relying on a strong blueline held down by Braydon Coburn and Jason Garrison, or by scoring ability and puck possession. But what will really be needed for a shot to play in the final will be a combination of it all. This is a team that has won games thus far in these playoffs in many different ways, but each time a different piece of the puzzle was missing. Tampa Bay began the playoffs with three of its top six defensemen dealing with injuries, but is beginning the Eastern Conference Final with a healthy defensive group. Stralman and Hedman have been a great pairing and have performed well. Ryan Callahan missed Game 6 against Montreal after an emergency appendectomy, but is already skating with his team and could provide valuable forechecking if he returns. Tampa Bay has a real weapon in the Tyler Johnson centered line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat; the line has combined for 17 goals and 14 assists. Now that Stamkos has shaken the monkey off his back this team is far more dangerous. Bishop has a SP of .931 so far this post-season, but he will need to buckle down and not allow soft goals in this series. The Lightning had incredible offensive power and led the league in puck possession during the regular season and those aspects of their game have badly faltered during the post season thus far, but if they can play the way they did in the regular season this team will find itself in the final. Coach Cooper showed that he is not afraid to try something risky in Game 6 against the Habs he replaced Callahan with undrafted 24-year-old, Jonathan Marchessault, instead of favored prospect Jonathan Drouin. Marchessault proved to be a good choice in the 11:15 minutes he was on the ice. That being said the Lightning would have a better chance at playing in the final if Callahan returns, and if he can play as well as he did before his appendectomy.

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New York Rangers-

How they got to the Eastern Conference Final: The Rangers needed 12 games to reach this conference final. They eliminated the Penguins in five games in the first round and seven against the Capitals. Each of the games was decided by one goal, including eight by a 2-1 score, and four in overtime. The Rangers are 6-2 in 2-1 games and 4-0 in overtime (all the OT games had a 2-1 score). The Rangers earned this appearance with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 7 of the second round against the Capitals. They are the first team in NHL history to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a playoff series two years in a row. Against Washington New York found its speed from Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider to be their most valuable attribute. The Rangers have only averaged 2.00 goals for the post-season, but thankfully for them Henrik Lundqvist has stepped up when he was most needed. He had a save percentage of .931 or higher in every game against Washington, and has a GAA of 1.60. They have an 89.3 percent success rate on the penalty kill in large part because of Lundqvist’s efforts.

How they can get to the Stanley Cup Final: The Rangers offense needs to find the back of the net because averaging 2.00 goals a game in the post season will not cut it for long. The Rangers were one of the highest-scoring teams during the regular season and if Henrik Lundqvist continues his stellar performance in the crease, and can give the offense an opportunity to step up their game this team can have a chance to move on to the final. New York has really improved their puck possession game during the post season and held their own against teams that were better in that area during the regular season. Ryan McDonagh has had a strong post season showing and is likely to remain a great asset in this series. Dan Girardi leads Rangers defensemen with 48 blocked shots taking some stress off Lundqvist. Coach Alain Vigneault hasn’t let the fear of change get to him as the post season has gone on he has made timely decisions to change up lines when they weren’t working, and this ability to adapt to game situations is the sign of a great coach.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL MATCHUP
SERIES M – M1 vs. A2 TIME (ET) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers NETWORKS
Saturday, May 16 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, May 18 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, May 20 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Friday, May 22 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Sunday, May 24 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Tuesday, May 26 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Friday, May 29 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL MATCHUP
SERIES N – P1 vs. C3 TIME (ET) Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks NETWORKS
Sunday, May 17 3 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 19 9 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Thursday, May 21 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, May 23 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Monday, May 25 9 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Wednesday, May 27 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 30 8 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

* – if necessary TBD – To be determined

 

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Tampa Bay Lightning –

Learning from Round 1: The Lighting had to win Game 6 on the road before outlasting the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in Game 7. Steven Stamkos had 43 goals in the regular season, but only had three assists against the Red Wings in the first round, but his defensive play was on point. Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Pala picked up the offensive slack during the first round and it will be important that this team sees where it is lacking and continues to find solutions. Johnson scored twice each in Games 2, 4 and 6; his six goals were tied for the most in the opening round with Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues. The Lightning were 2-for-30 and allowed a shorthanded goal on the powerplay. Stamkos had 13 power-play goals during the regular season, so his struggles to score were a major problem in the first round.

Winning Formula: Tampa Bay dominated Montreal going 5-0-0 against the Canadiens during the regular season, outscoring them 21-8; they hope to continue that trend in this post-season matchup. The Bolts have possibly the most forward depth of any team in the league. Tampa Bay’s defense scored five goals during the first round. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman who each had more than 30 points during the regular season are solid in their end and have a focus on puck possession. Jason Garrison has a big shot from the point, Matt Carle, Coburn, Ondrej Sustr, and Nikita Nesterov all can move the puck and played a big role in limiting the Red Wings to 13 non-empty-net goals in seven games.

Montreal Canadiens –

Learning from Round 1: The Habs got scoring production from every line making their progression to the 2nd round a true team effort. Centers Tomas Plekanec, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn each finished with a goal and two assists, and left wing Max Pacioretty and right wing Dale Weise each had two goals. Flynn saved Game 1 when he had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 victory in Montreal. Forwards Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk each finished with a goal and two points. Lars Eller led the Habs with a 61.6 percent faceoff efficiency (45-of-73) and had a goal and two points. Center David Desharnais had two assists and won 48 of 92 faceoffs (52.2 percent). Devante Smith-Pelly led the Canadiens with 22 hits. Montreal needs to do more to avoid turnovers in the defensive zone. Defenseman Greg Pateryn who had no points in 17 regular-season games has had had two assists in three games in the post-season thus far. The Canadiens scored one goal in 20 man-advantage opportunities against the Senators and this was not new as their powerplay was troubling them all season.

Winning Formula: This team is successful because their 4th line is as important as their 1st. Expect Plekanec and Pacioretty to be in the thick of the action and play every inch of the ice. Pacioretty scored 37 goals in the regular season and  rejoined the Canadiens for Game 2 after missing the previous three games with an upper-body injury sustained April 5. Plekanec averaged 20:27 of ice time in six games. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov are an intimidating defensive pairing. Subban leads the Canadiens in average ice time per game (25:08) and in scoring with four points (three assists). Markov averaged 25:03 and blocked 15 shots, but he struggled in the series with numerous turnovers. Jeff Petry and Alexei Emelin provide this team with great hits and blocking shots. The penalty-killing unit went 15-of-20 in the first round (75 percent) with defensemen Subban, Emelin, Gilbert and Petry, and forwards Plekanec, Prust and Eller play significant roles.

Goalie Matchup: Carey Price is up for the Vezina Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy, and his performance in the 1st Round spoke volumes on why that is the case. Price had a 1.94 GAA and .939 save percentage against the Senators. He capped the series with 43 saves in a 2-0 victory in Game 6 at Ottawa. Price bounced back from a 5-1 loss in Game 5 and became the first goaltender to shut out the Senators this season. Price allowed 12 goals in the series; he had 30 saves in the second and third periods of Game 6. Price led the NHL or shared the lead in three of the major categories during the regular season: wins (44), goals-against average (1.96), and save percentage (.933). Lightning goalie Bishop’s absence was the primary reason the team was swept in last year’s post-season. Bishop rebounded with a solid regular season (40-13-5, 2.32 goals-against average, .916 save percentage), and after some ups and downs against Detroit he made the saves that had to be made in the final two games. That included 31 in Game 7, his first Stanley Cup Playoff shutout. He finished the series with a 1.87 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 13 starts after succeeding Evgeni Nabokov as Bishop’s backup. He had a 2.36 GAA and a .918 save percentage. If he finds himself in the crease he would give the Lightning a better chance of winning than they had last year without Bishop in net.

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Read analysis from the Lightning and the Canadiens first round matchups.