The second round saw an interesting battle for who would move on, as the Tampa Bay Lightning advance to the next round, having knocked out the Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning advanced after having made some strong plays throughout the series, managing to move past any obstacle that the Hurricanes could put up against them.
The Lightning advance after having won the series in game five, shutting out the Hurricanes to finish the series. This team that won the Stanley Cup last year is looking to push for another one, and clearly has the strength and depth that they seem to be able to go the distance.
Series Review: Key Players
Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point: Point is an absolute star player for the Lightning. As he continues to age, he only seems to grow in prestige and continues to show why he deserves a spot on the first line of this talented team. The player put up more than a point a game throughout the series, and absolutely cut through the defense, using his speed and size to power through and create plays.
He never let the defensive side of his game slip either, as he still maintains a positive plus-minus throughout the series while contributing to every special team’s unit efficiently. The player exhibited all the traits of a consummate professional, almost never going into the penalty box, and not seeming to get into many bad scrums or arguments with other players.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Vasilevskiy is one of the best in the business, and he really showed that off throughout this series. The goalie had some amazing showings, including posting shut-outs and being able to push the play out of his own end. Even on nights where the player looked as though he wasn’t having his best game, he kept his motivation and mostly helped his team pull through for the win. As was earlier predicted, this goalie was a key player for his team in the series.
Victor Hedman: Hedman is one of the best defenders in the league, and he showed it in this series. The defender in question had a lot of ice time in this series, being on the ice for almost half the game every night. The player put up three points, even with his heavily defense-based game. He made good on his title of being one of the best with his contributions in the special team units, being a large part of why his team came away with the victory.
Alex Nedeljkovic: Nedeljkovic started the majority of games for the Hurricanes, and as a rookie goalie he made a strong showing for his team. The goalie only had six goals against him throughout the series, a surprising feat considering the goal-scoring prowess of the team he was facing. The goalie continued to make a strong case for why he deserves to be in consideration for the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Jordan Staal: As the captain, Staal made sure his team never gave up in the series, even as they were on the brink of losing the series. The player made some amazing moves in his defensive end, as well as setting up his teammates to succeed in front of the net, a large part of why he put up points in more than half of the games of this series. This captain made a strong example of what a captain needs to do, making his presence known and keeping his team motivated.
The captain played well at both ends of the ice, always maintaining a positive plus-minus score, and only spending two minutes in the penalty box across the five games.
Jacob Slavin: Slavin was a wonderful defenseman throughout the series, whether it be in regular play, or short-handed, he showed off why he is one of the best defensemen on the Hurricanes team. While the Lightning advance, Slavin still managed to maintain a positive plus-minus from the Hurricanes’ top defensive pairing, which was one of the best in the league throughout the season. The player is expected to keep making an impact with his team throughout the next season and definitely played a key role in his team’s success to this point.
Take-Aways as the Lightning Advance
Both teams fought hard in this series, and even as the Lightning advance, Hurricanes fans can be proud of their team. A few player trades and more advancement of the players who the Hurricanes currently have should see them continue to be a threat in the next Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As the Lightning advance, they are expected to have some of the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup. The Lightning won the cup last season due to their depth, and persistence throughout the competition. The Lightning will certainly be a tough customer, as they look to face off against either the Boston Bruins or the New York Islanders in the next round of the playoffs.
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