The Tampa Bay Lightning came into game five wanting nothing to do with heading back to New York for a possible game six. Amalie Arena was electric and everyone was ready to see the Lightning advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive year.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came out Sunday afternoon in Amalie Arena looking for the first spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Both Tampa Bay and New York had chances early in the game when they had back to back power plays to start the first. At 13:49 into the first period the Lightning would take the early advantage when Victor Hedman scored on a wrist shot from the slot to take the 1-0 lead.
Later in the first at 18:41 the Lightning would strike again when Brian Boyle would score to take a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. Matthew Carle and Cedric Paquette would be credited with the assists. The first period would end 2-0 and the Lightning would take momentum into the locker room headed to period two.
3:40 into the second period Victor Hedman would light the lamp for the second time after Travis Hamonic was sent to the box for roughing Cedric Paquette. The power play goal would increase the lead to three early in the second. Late in the third period Ryan Callahan lines up Nick Leddy and laid a hit on him causing him to stay on the ice for a decent amount of time.
Later on the play a scrum broke out after stoppage of play and in the background of the play John Tavares was accessed a roughing and a slashing after swinging his stick toward the back of Ryan Callahan’s knee. The Lightning would also be accessed a minor for roughing John Tavares. The New York penalty kill would kill the penalties and keep the game at 3-0.
At the 19:09 mark in the second period Cedric Paquette was sent to the box for a delay of game, while Matt Martin was sent to the box for interference. The teams would skate four on four for the last 50 seconds on the period and it would carry over into the third period.
The third period would begin with both teams skating four a side due to the penalties accessed late in the second period. After the four on four penalty expired Paquette was sent off with his third penalty of the game after a boarding call on Johnny Boychuck. Ben Bishop stood on his head during the power play denying multiple opportunities.
Nikita Kucherov adds to his impressive postseason totals by adding a ninth goal and his fourth in the series. All four of his goals in this series have come in the third period and he now leads the playoffs with nine goals. Alex Killorn was credited with the assist and extended the lead 4-0.
Johnny Boychuck would be sent off in the middle of the third period for cross checking Cedric Paquette. Tampa would go on the power play for the fourth time in the game but could not get anything out of it. Tampa would get their fifth opportunity on the power play after Thomas Hickey was called for slashing Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway but would again get nothing out of it.
The Amalie Arena would be on their feet for the final minute and a half of the game, while the Tampa Bay Lightning advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. Ben Bishop stopped all 26 shots he faced Sunday afternoon. Last spring Ben Bishop shutout the Rangers and Red Wings in series clinching games and this year he did the same to the Red Wings and the Islanders.
The Lightning will face the winner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals series. The Penguins lead the series 3-2 headed back to Pittsburgh. Good news for the Lightning, Steven Stamkos, J.T. Brown, and Anton Stralman all were skating Sunday morning and looked very mobile during the skate.
Sources: ESPN.com; Photo: tbo.com;