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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Article contributed by Give & Grub

Do you think of biting into a candied jalapeno burger when you think of Tampa Bay Lightning coach, Jon Cooper? What about steak tacos when someone mentions Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman? Probably not, but there’s a very good reason why you should – and it involves one food truck with a very big mission.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have teamed up with Laser Spine Institute, along with Feeding America Tampa Bay and Metropolitan Ministries, to fight hunger in the Tampa Bay area through the Give & Grub food truck – an innovative new way to help those children who do not receive enough food in their community.

For each meal purchased from the Give & Grub food truck, another meal will be donated to someone in need. The state-of-the-art truck serves up a quirky gourmet menu picked to represent some of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s most well-recognized personnel and their favorite foods. Chosen by their namesake, menu items include:

  • Chicken Parmkos Sandwich, inspired by Steven Stamkos – Breaded chicken served with house-made marinara on a fresh hero roll and topped with Parmesan cheese
  • Cooper’s Candied Jalapeno Burger, named after Coach Jon Cooper – A juicy burger topped with roasted red peppers, candied jalapenos, and melted cotija cheese and served on a fresh pumpernickel bun
  • Hedman’s Steak Tacos, for defenseman Victor Hedman – Skirt steak tacos deliciously marinated, and served with roasted corn pico de gallo, chipotle glaze and Tijuana rice
  • Bishop Bowl, inspired by goalie Ben Bishop – Black shrimp or tofu, wasabi caramel, saffron red beans and mango on a bed of yellow rice

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The goal of the Give & Grub project is to eventually give back 150,000 meals to local children in need – and there is plenty of need. According to Feeding America Tampa Bay, there are a 700,000 people in West Central Florida struggling with hunger, and 250,000 of those people are children. For Laser Spine Institute and the Lightning, the Give & Grub project is a way to give back to their community by reducing the food insecurity that affects so many of these children every day.

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The truck travels across the greater Tampa Bay area, and can be found at Tampa Bay Lightning games, community events and regional office parks during lunch time.

Join Laser Spine Institute and the Tampa Bay Lightning in their mission to ‘Stick it to Hunger’, by going to the Give & Grub website to find out where the truck will be next. Also, by sharing the hashtag #GiveAndGrub on your social media platform of choice, they’ll donate an additional meal to a family in need!

Follow Give & Grub on Twitter

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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.

Follow @TristinHuntamer on Twitter

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

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Head-to-Head Season Stats
Stats
Lightning
Red Wings
Record

3-1-0

1-2-1

Goals

11

9

Shot Attempts

163

142

 

Season Stats
 
Lightning
Red Wings
Rank
Stats
Rank
Stats
Shot Attempts For/60

7

55.8 13

54.1

Shot Attempts Against/60

3

47.8 2

46.3

Shot Attempt %

2

53.9 3

53.9

Goals For/60

1

2.77 24

2.07

Goals Against/60

14

2.12 7

1.98

Goal %

2

56.7 15

51.2

Shooting %

1

9.1 19

7.4

Save %

20

91.9 12

92.5

Powerplay

14

18.8 2

23.8

Penalty Kill

9

83.7 17

80.9

 

Key Matchup-

Pavel Datsyuk vs. Steven Stamkos: Puck possession is key in the playoffs and Datsyuk is one of the best players in the league in that regard whereas Steven Stamkos is just average in that aspect of the game. Stamkos’ relative goal percentage is not good, but that’s only because the Lightning are such a deep team that any line can score, so maybe the key matchup is really Datsyuk vs. the entire Lighting team.

Detroit Red Wings-

Winning Formula: When Detroit is healthy, it has a ton of depth in the form of four strong lines that can play in any situation and adapt to almost any style of game. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are right there with Datsyuk and Zetterberg when it comes to offensive contributions. Whether it’s Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson or Petr Mrazek, they have the kind of goaltending that is very good and can sometimes be great.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Red Wings need guidance and sometimes find it difficult to come back after being down. When they have everyone healthy, they’re confident and efficient with the puck and difficult to beat. But it seems if a player (especially a forward) is injured, it causes a mess once the line juggling begins, and throws the entire team out of sync. The playoffs are more brutal than the regular season and players get injured so this could be a negative factor for this team.

Tampa Bay Lightning-

Winning Formula: The Lightning is the highest-scoring team in the NHL. Everyone on this team is expected to contribute. No defenseman plays more than 23 minutes a game and, generally speaking, no forward plays more than 20. Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos both constantly find ways to put the puck in the back of the net. In years past the Bolts had problems with their penalty kill, but that has all changed. The Lightning have quietly become a top-10 team on the PK. They can play a physical game. In the net Ben Bishop is pretty solid, but he needs to work on his lateral game. Backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is solid in the crease as well.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Tampa is a middle-of-the-road team when it comes to the power play and digressing in the second half of the season. Sometimes go through periods in which the “shoot first” mentality disappears, and they try to execute picture-perfect plays instead of keeping things simple. Teams do not get points for making their goals pretty. In the playoffs successful teams can score goals that don’t necessarily make the highlight reels. Defense is also an issue. The Lightning, gets involved a little too often in the run-and-gun type of game at both ends of the ice, a style that never seems to translate well to post-season play. To get the puck past Bishop Detroit will need to get him  moving post to post as his lateral game is his weakest area.

Follow me @TristinHuntamer