“Hedman”ing to Conference Finals

By on May 8, 2016
Victor Hedman had two goals and was a plus 3 in 27:43 minutes of ice time. Hedman was the #1 star. (photo by Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Victor Hedman had two goals and was a plus 3 in 27:43 minutes of ice time. Hedman was the #1 star. (photo by Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders entered the “Oil Can” this afternoon with their backs against the proverbial wall. A win by the Tampa Bay Lightning would propel them into the Eastern Conference Finals.  Victor Hedman would assure that happened.

The Lightning commit a penalty just ten seconds in and the the penalty kill was on point as it has been.  The Lightning came out jumping and did not let the short handed situation derail their agenda, which was to knock out the Islanders.

The Bolts were the first on the board with  6:11 left in the first period, #77 Victor Hedman rips one past Thomas Greiss.

 The Lightning were strong in the first, with 10 shots on goal, 2 goals and 1 penalty kill. The Lightning were strong in the face off circle, at 61% at the end of the first period.

The score 2-0 Lightning, and the second goal was scored by #11 Brian Boyle, with the assist from Matt Carle and Cedric Paquette. They were doing everything right to win this game today, on Mothers Day.

At the start of the second period, the Lightning were peppering Greiss as he has his work cut out for him. The Lightning rang one off the post and the pressure by the Lightning continued.

Thomas Hamonic committed a two minute roughing minor against Paquette. The Bolts would go on the power play for the second time of the game and oncce again, Victor Hedman rifled another one past Greiss. His second goal of the game, and fourth of the playoffs. The assists to #27 Jonathan Drouin, and #9 Tyler Johnson. The Bolts took a commanding three goal lead.  All appearance, Coopers Law (Lightning head coach Jon Coooper) had this team well prepared.

The crowd noise was incredible, and the Oil Can was full to capacity! I think they were all anticipating a hat trick from Victor Hedman.

With about 4:22 left in the second, Ryan Callahan put a huge hit on Nick Leddy in the Lightning zone. Then things got heated down in front of Ben Bishop and three penalties were called. John Tavares got two minutes slashing, two minutes roughing, and Andrej Sustr got two minutes roughing. The Lightning would have the man advantage for two minutes.

Valterri Filppula had an excellent chance only to get stoned by Greiss. The Lightning failed to score on that power play. This game was electrifying for Lightning Fans. At the end of the second period, the score was 3-0 Lightning. Three goals, one for three on the power play, 18 hits, 63% in the face-off circle and three penalties. Not a bad two periods for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I believe that this is the best game they have played in this series and maybe in the 2016 playoffs.  The Lightning dominated the game through 40 minutes.

The third period would continue the same, with the Lightning dominating the ice. The Islanders put the pressure on in the first couple of minutes, but Ben Bishop continued to steadfastly block every shot that came his way. At 4:40 in the second, Nikita Kucherov got a breakaway compliments of an Alex Killorn pass and put the fourth goal of the game home. It was Kucherov’s ninth goal of the playoffs. The persistence and teamwork of the Lightning forwards was paying off in this game 5. The Lightning went ahead 4-0, with just 14 minutes left to play.

Sitting in the auxiliary pressbox is quite a treat, I’m enjoying the crowd noise, but I have decided that the giant heads of the players the fans hold up are just a little creepy! It’s amazing how an outdoor winter sport that had its inception in Canada, has made it all the way down the Central Florida, and the fans love it! The energy in the “Oil Can” is incredible tonight, I think the Lightning have played their way into the hearts of the Tampans.

With 4 goals, 4 penalty kills, a shut out for Ben Bishop, 58% in the face off circle, the Boys in Blue were victorious. They will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Their challenger is still to be determined, the Capitals or the Penguins. They have been here before, and proven themselves. Best of luck to you Tampa Bay Lightning, keep dazzling us with your skills!

The three stars of the game were: Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman and Brian Boyle. That’s one tall order.  When Jon Cooper was asked to explain what it was like to be facing the Eastern Conference Finals, and possibly the play for the Stanley Cup, he said “It’s just fun.”

The Lightning await the winner of the other Eastern Conference Semi-Final the Washington Capitals or the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins lead three games to two with game 6 in Pittsburgh Tuesday night May 10th at 8pm eastern time.  Game 7, if the Capitals win game 6, will be in Washington Thursday May 12th.

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