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


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


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.


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



SERIES O – A2 vs. C3 TIME (ET) Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa By Lightning NETWORKS
Wednesday, June 3 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, June 6 7:15 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, June 8 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, June 10 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, June 13 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Monday, June 15 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Chicago NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Wednesday, June 17 8 p.m. Chicago at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

* if necessary


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.


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.

Follow @TristinHuntamer and @BandBHockey on Twitter


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


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