The Cinderella Story continues as Vegas beat San Jose in 6 games to advance to Conference Finals
The Golden Knights have done the unthinkable yet again, after beating the Kings in four games many people thought ok, this team has to run out of gas eventually, right? Well, they were wrong. Again. The Knights have now beat the Sharks in six games and wait for either Winnipeg or Nashville for the Western Conference Finals. Does anybody else think this team is just having so much fun and actually enjoying the game that is the reason they are so good? For example, 3 minutes to play they are up two goals in game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Colin Miller runs into the post and comes back to the bench laughing as his team is just cracking jokes at him. Game SIX and these are guys are cracking jokes. I know we have said it time and time again that no way Vegas can do this or that but whoever the Knights face next round they will more than likely put up an unreal fight, probably go the distance and who knows maybe even win it!
The Golden Knights do not just have one or two guys producing the big numbers they have a laundry list of players chipping in and doing something. As of now, they have two players with 11 points, Karlsson with 10, 3 players with 7 points and 3 players with 5 or 6 points. This is in 10 games they have played so they essentially have multiple guys each game doing something. For example Alex Tuch, where did he come from? Oh yeah well he’ll just score 2 goals in game 5 to win it. The trio of Marchessault-Smith-Karlsson, 3rd line or worse guys last season, oh yeah well just produce a point per game. It’s unreal and the fact Marc Andre Fleury as well has already 4 shutouts, 1 .53 goals against and .951 save percentage with an 8-2 record is mind-blowing. The Cinderella story continues folks!
Tampa Bay finishes off Boston in 5 to advance to 3rd Conference Final in four years
Tampa Bay was 6-1 this playoff when scoring first in the playoffs, and three of the four games they won vs the Bruins they scored first (besides game 5). The Lightning had Stamkos and Kucherov tally three goals the whole series and still beat one of the best teams in the NHL in five games. Why? Because players like Brayden Point. Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, and JT Miller came out to play big time and led this team even when their superstars were nonexistent. Through the 10 games, the Lightning played Gourde, Johnson, Miller, and Point combine for 28 points. In the last series alone Point and Miller were the two big driving factors along with Ondrej Palat as well. Miller was the stand out player in game 5, as he demolished David Backes (cleanly!) and then rifled one home for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal.
The Lightning also saw some very solid goaltending and defensive power by their back end, the addition of Ryan McDonagh looks a little better now. A lot of Lightning fans will remember the pinch by McDonagh to win game four in overtime if they go onto win the Cup. But of course, Victor Hedman has been an unreal force back there, Dan Girardi scoring the game-winning goal in game four and Anton Stralman playing his usual shut down style very well. Andrei Vasilevskiy was underappreciated in this series as he did only allow 14 goals in 5 games and besides the first game when they got shackled, Vasilevskiy allowed 3 or fewer goals in the next four games. On the playoffs thus far Vasy has an 8-2 record, 2.20 GAA and .927 save percentage. What is next awaits for the Lightning if it is either Capitals or Penguins, I would have to say if you are a Lightning fan you are feeling pretty confident going into the next series. It has been said all year that this is the Lightning year and as they take down the first two opponents in five games is a solid sign of that. What’s next for Lightning is unknown right now but are they guaranteed to be in the Cup once again? This is their third time in four seasons making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The year they get over the hump now…