The Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on to the semifinals after knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes in five games.
For the second straight game, Tampa Bay registered the game’s first goal. It came on the power play when Brayden Point scored his eighth of the season. The scoring opportunity started inside the Lightning zone when Andrei Vasilevskiy slid across for the save on a Carolina odd-man rush. The stop propelled Tampa Bay up the ice and on a 2-on-1 of their own, Point sent a backhander under the crossbar.
The Lightning thought they had another goal in the dying seconds of the opening frame. But, a shot from the point by Steven Stamkos hit the back of the night moments after the horn sounded.
In the second, the two teams traded a flurry of shots. Nothing bigger than two blocked shots from Tampa forward Dougie Hamilton.
After a scoreless second period, Tampa Bay came out electrified. Ross Colton parked himself in front of the Carolina net for much of the first half of the period. He had three separate chances in front of the net but he could not pot home the rebound. Later in the period, Colton streaked down the right-wing side and wristed a shot from the faceoff dot. It was Colton’s third of the postseason.
Carolina in the final three minutes of the game pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. But the Hurricane surge was not enough. Vasilevskiy registered his second shutout of the playoffs. He stopped all 29 shots faced.
Four of the five games in the series saw a scoreless first period. The Lightning outscored the Hurricanes nine to six in the middle frame of the series.
The Lightning move on to the semifinals for the second straight season. They will await the winner of the New York Islanders versus Boston Bruins series. That series is currently 3-2 New York with game six on Wednesday.