Friday, 23 August, 2019

Tampa Bay Lightning open Stanley Cup playoffs, Host Columbus in Game 1

Stamkos: Lightning 'learned a lesson' after coughing up 3-goal lead Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - 4/12/19 NHL - Playoffs Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Cary Erickson | 13 April, 2019, 10:07

But the regular season doesn't matter now in the NHL's second season where John Tortorella will try to knock off his former team.

One way or another, the Predators need to find answers as the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs go along. I'm just here to make my picks for the first round.

The worst, most lopsided matchup should have been the President's Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning against the last-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets.

Midway through the third period, the house started to collapse for Tampa Bay when the Blue Jackets' David Savard cut the lead to 3-2 on a turnover in the Lightning zone as he went unassisted at 7:56. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are two of the best players on the planet, and it will be key for the Islanders to shut them down.

Killorn stole the puck from Jones at the blue line during a power play for Columbus and put a backhander past Bobrovsky to open the scoring 4:12 into the game. "He's going to do this for 20 years and I can't wait to watch him". Previous year the Bruins bested Toronto in the first round and that's where they'll meet up once again. Stamkos is a generational goal scorer. Hedman is the reigning Norris Trophy victor and the best defenseman in Lightning history. I don't even think he's aware of how big a moment it is.

Moving onto the defending champs in the Washington Capitals going up against the Carolina Hurricanes. Coach Gerard Gallant said he wasn't anxious about his team's subpar performance to end the season that saw them only winning one of their final eight games.

Nick Foligno had the other goal for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky ended up with 26 saves after struggling in the first period. Once again another all-around great team.

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Pittsburgh outshot NY 17-12 in the first period, but the Islanders led 2-1 after 20 minutes. Frederik Andersen has not been good down the stretch, and the Leafs need him to be their best player every night. The Blue Jackets are a +225 underdog, while the over-under is set at 6.5 goals. They don't have a lot of depth while the Penguins do. Let's not forget that they also have to deal with Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang. NY has home ice, but I'm still going with the Penguins in six. However, the Avalanche hold an advantage over most of the Western Conference teams thanks to goaltender Philipp Grubauer. You could easily argue both are better than any team coming out of the Central bracket. They made it to the finals in 2017 but lost to the Penguins.

They have to know it. "It was a much faster game and more physical game".

The Islanders led three times in regulation with the Penguins managing to tie it each time. The two teams finished in a tie with 99 points apiece. Along with players like Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Bryan Little there is no lack of skill. Barring injuries to key, key players, or a run of awful luck, I don't see how this team loses in a seven-game series.

Over/under: We'll go for a second straight OVER to start this Western Conference Quarterfinal. He's become one of the best second-half goalies in the National Hockey League. He has 99 points on the season and leads his club with 36 goals.

Nikita Kucherov topped off an incredible season by taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after recording 13 goals and 31 points. The problem is their lack of depth. Much like a year ago, in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they're facing the top seed in the Western Conference in the Calgary Flames. They have the talent ranging from Jonathan Marchessault's 25 goals and 34 assists to William Karlsson's 24 goals and 32 assists. You can't hang your head on each play. I'd like to see them prove me wrong, but they'll be fighting off a veteran Sharks squad. Do we succeed? I don't know. The "Shark Tank" is one of the toughest places to play in the league, and Vegas hasn't been so hot on the road. I expect them to jump out of the gates early on this one and run away with it without looking back.

If you're familiar with PFT Live, you're aware that shows broadcast during the Stanley Cup playoffs include highlights from Stanley Cup playoffs games.

Just more than a minute after Kuhnhackl's opening-minute goal was overturned, Eberle did give the Islanders the lead as he stopped a deflection of Pelech's shot, turned and beat Murray through the five-hole from the right side for his first career postseason goal at 1:40.