The Lightning dropped the opener of a series for the second straight round.
The Lightning's trio of rookies combined for 12 playoff points through two rounds: Anthony Cirelli, Yanni Gourde and defenceman Mikhail Sergachev. "I think anytime you score in the last minute of the period, it can be deflating to the tam that gets scored on, because you have to come into [the locker room] and watch the clock for 15 minutes and think about that goal that just went in, that you wish you would have prevented". While a lot of fans have been complaining about the seeding in this playoff format, I do find it odd that both series will be a matchup of #1 versus #2 with all four teams being division winners. The series could turn on Holtby vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy.
It would only make sense that they finally squash the narrative that they can't beat the Penguins during the same year that they finally win their first championship. Heading into the semi-finals, let's look at how the two matchups might play out.
A new Stanley Cup champion will be crowned.
"I thought San Jose would be more confident going into that series".
Down the stretch in Game 5 and again in Game 6, the Penguins made the crucial mistake that can sink any team, even a team on their way to becoming a dynasty.
Lars Eller took Backstrom's spot on the second line, alongside wingers T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana.
Dammit, the Vegas Golden Knights social media is going to be insufferable when the team wins the Stanley Cup. They are still a long way from that second part happening, but after an offseason of upheaval after pushing all of their chips to the middle over the previous two years, things just seem to be clicking at the right time for Washington for once. "Numbers only tell you what you did". It is very possible the Golden Knights are about to run into a buzz saw.
All in all, it will be an exciting and close Conference Final in both sides - but the favorites are strong enough to go through according to Accuscore's simulations. "So that's what's the most exciting thing is you don't know, right?" If it becomes a series about speed, it's hard to compete in that department with Brayden Point.
Why Vegas can win: Marc-Andre Fleury has been playing out of his mind this postseason.
Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson have led the offense the entire season and they continue to do so in the playoffs. "We didn't give them much", Ovechkin said.
They may be a team who is happy to be in the third round, but the Capitals have to face a team that is looking for more than that.
The Capitals dominated in improving to 6-1 on the road this postseason, with Kempny giving them an early 1-0 lead. After the Caps fell short in Game 7 to Crosby's Penguins once again in 2017, numerous National Hockey League media members suggested the Capitals "blow it all up", a common refrain spoken about gutting a team and starting from scratch. In the first round, the Caps defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games after getting down two games to none.
Why Winnipeg can win: The Jets have slain their top competition.
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are leading the charge, while elite goal scorer Patrick Laine and former Penn State killer Kyle Connor are starting to heat up.
The Lightning, for 50 minutes a night, have Victor Hedman or Ryan McDonagh out on the ice.
So a pair of first-time Western Conference finalists take the ice with a trip to the Stanley Cup on the line. After a grueling seven game series, that turned out to be correct.