With the season on the line again for the Tampa Bay Lightning, it will take another great effort, like we saw Thursday Night in Toronto, for the Lightning to get to a game seven.
The Lightning played their best game of the postseason Thursday Night as they played within their system to throttle the high-powered Toronto offense in a 4-2 win.
So what has to happen for the Bolts to get a win Saturday night at home?
The forecheck was very good. The Lightning will need that to carry over into game six to get a win.
Andrei Vasilevskiy Needs To Have Another Great Performance
Andrei Vasilevskiy played his best game in the postseason, making huge saves at critical moments. There were no soft goals allowed by Vasilevskiy.
This team needs another excellent game by Vasi to have a chance at winning game six.
During the playoff runs of the last three seasons, there were many nights that Vasilevskiy was the best on the ice for the Bolts. I think it’s safe to say that the Lightning would not have played in three Stanley Cup Finals had Vasi not been consistently good throughout the playoffs.
Maybe Vasi is coming out of the season-long funk he has been in. However, the Lightning need the postseason Vasilevskiy of the last three years to show up in a big way tonight in game six.
After stopping 28/30 shots on Thursday Night, Pat Maroon and Victor Hedman talked about the greatness of Vasilevskiy. “He’s been the best goalie for a long time now in this league, and he continues to be the best goalie in this league,” Maroon said.
Victor Hedman added, “He’s proven time and time again that he’s the best in the business.”
The Lightning Need Mikey Eyssimont In The Lineup
Mickey Essymont added that “It Factor” to the lineup missing so far this postseason. In addition, Eyssimont added some speed and energy to a lineup that needed it badly as he scored his first playoff goal in his career and added an assist in the Lightnings’ 4-2 win.
The Bolts need to find a way to keep Eyssimont in the lineup to give the Bolts that much-needed energy.
Continue To Be The Better Team Five On Five
Although trailing in the series 3-2, the Bolts have been the better team in the last four games and have the better team five-on-five.
They have gotten balanced scoring from all four lines, with Nick Paul, Ross Colton, Corey Perry, Pierre Edouard-Bellemare, Brandon Hagel, Anthony Cirelli, and Mikey Eyssimont all getting on the scoresheet, along with Stamkos and Kucherov.
The Lightning’s Championship Pedigree
You are seeing the Lightning’s championship pedigree rise to the surface. With the 4-2 win on Thursday night, the Leafs are now 0-11 in games where they can eliminate the opponent. The longer this series goes, the pressure will only rise on the Maple Leafs.
The Lightning has been in this spot many times before. Toronto has not made it out of the first round since 2004.
I like the Lightning in game six tonight. Although the Bolts are 0-2 at home in the playoffs, they outplayed Toronto in both games at Amalie Arena and should be moving on to play in the second round.
The Lightning had one of the best home records in the NHL during the regular season, and it’s time to get that first playoff win at home.
—Eric Cernak will be out again tonight as he recovers from a blow to the head in game one.
—The Lightning are 11-9 all-time in game 6
-Andrei Vasilevskiy now has 65 career playoff wins tied for 12th all-time.
-Jon Cooper has 86 career playoffs. That is good for tenth place all-time.