The Tampa Bay Lightning did what they had to do at home the first two games of the series out scoring the New Jersey Devils 10-5 to lead the series 2-0.
The lightning look like a team ready to take a deep playoff run in their domination of the Devils. The line of Alex Killorn, Yanni Guarde, and Tony Cirelli has been one of the best lines of the series. The Johnson, Palat, Point line been very good as well.
The lightning need the line of Stamkos, Kucherov, and Miller to get going at some point, although they have not played poorly at all, they are just not showing up on the score sheet as much.
In game 2 the Devils outshot the Lightning 19-9 in the third period as desperation set in for the Devils. The lightning were also down Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan, two players the Lightning count on to play in those situations With their experience and leadership.
You could see the lightning were a bit out of synch as New Jersey applied the pressure in the third period and the lightning were scrambling, just running around trying to make sure they kept New Jersey in check.
The Lightning won’t know anything definitive until Monday on both players, but it looks like both players will miss some time. Callahan may have re-injured the shoulder that bothered him throughout the season and caused him to miss some games in March.
After the game it was being called an upper body injury, and the Girardi injury was being called a lower body injury. If Girardi is out for any length of time, his toughness and tenacity will be hard to replace. Girardi is just rock solid back there and is rarely out of position.
That would open the door for Slater Koekkoek, Jake Dotchin, and Sustr to get some more minutes. Adam Erne is still recovering from his lower body injury and would probably not be available to replace Callahan immediately, although he is now skating.
Monday night the first 10 minutes of the game will set the tone for the rest of the game. New Jersey will throw everything at the Lightning as they are desperate down 0-2 with the next two games at home.
The Lightning challenge will be to wether that storm, play with composure, play their game, and just trust the system.
The lightning will need to come out of the locker room like they did in Tampa. Start quickly, and take the home crowd out of the game early.
Continue to keep the line of Hall, Hischier, and Palmieri in check as they have just three points in the two games so far.
Tampa will need to continue to have success on the power play, be aggressive on the forecheck, and stay out of the penalty box To continue to have success in the series. The Lightning were much better on the PK in game 2 after a not so good effort in game 1.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding in game 2 especially in the third period when it seemed he was under constant attack.
The goal is to win 2 games in New Jersey and then rest up for the winner of the Boston/Toronto series. I think the Lightning will split in Jersey and then come home and wrap it up on Saturday.