Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning strike twice: Johnson nets league-leading 10th playoff goal

2 Comments

Tyler Johnson had a strong sophomore campaign and he’s gotten even better since the playoffs began. After giving the Lightning a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded breakaway early in the first period, Johnson found the back of the net again less than six minutes later:

That was his 10th goal in just 15 playoff games. To put that in perspective, no other NHL player has more than seven goals so far in the postseason. He also accounts for roughly 27% of Tampa Bay’s playoff goals.

Johnson has been part of the very effective Triplets line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. The trio has been the Lightning’s top three goal scorers so far, with Steven Stamkos tied for fourth with three markers. That being said, the Triplets line wasn’t the difference early in Game 2 as special teams was instead the story.

That might be to the Lightning’s benefit as their five-on-five play was an area of concern in Game 1.

The Lightning finished the opening frame up 2-1. The Rangers have averaged just two goals per game in the playoffs and while that’s served them well enough so far, they’ll obviously need to do better tonight to extend their series lead to 2-0.

Video: Johnson scores on shorthanded breakaway, Rangers respond

8 Comments

The New York Rangers had an ideal opportunity to take an early lead against Tampa Bay as Lightning forward Brian Boyle got two minutes for holding and then teammate Jason Garrison was sent to the box for a delay of game less than a minute later.

Not only did the Rangers fail to capitalize on that extended 5-on-3, but Tyler Johnson ended up scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal after Rangers forward Martin St. Louis gave up the puck.

The goal was initially waived off because the net was knocked off its moorings, but a review determined that it was a good goal. You can see that below:

The Rangers were able to get some measure of redemption though as Tampa Bay’s Brenden Morrow was called off for high sticking at 8:15 of the first frame and Chris Kreider was able to convert on the power play:

Lightning get Brian Boyle back for Game 2

Brian Boyle was something of a surprise scratch in Game 1 due to an undisclosed injury. The Lightning were secretive about his status in the lead up to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final tonight, but as it turns out he’s good to go.

Boyle was put back into the lineup and is projected to play alongside Brenden Morrow and J.T. Brown on the fourth line. Vladislav Namestnikov, who skated with Morrow and Brown in Game 1, will be a healthy scratch after dressing in 11 of the Lightning’s first 12 playoff contests. Namestnikov was limited to just 6:52 minutes of ice time on Saturday.

By contrast, Boyle has averaged 15:36 minutes per contest in the postseason, including 2:49 in shorthanded situations. The Lightning suffered a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 without him.

“(Boyle’s) a big part of our team,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after that contest. “He kills penalties for us. He’s a big body. He can wear on teams. Of course we miss him.”

Related:

On second thought, Game 1 made Lightning’s Cooper ‘want to vomit’

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers

1 Comment

The New York Rangers’ playoff run has been anything but conventional. Although they were one of the best offensive teams during the regular season, they’ve averaged just two goals per game in the playoffs. That’s given them almost no margin for error, but they’ve gotten this far all the same.

In keeping with how the Rangers have done business throughout the playoffs, they earned a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Will they continue to win by the narrowest of margins? Or will the Tampa Bay Lightning be the team that solves their defense and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist?

We’ll get the next chapter of that series tonight. Game 2 is set to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET, but you can tune in as early as 7:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. The contest will air on NBCSN and can be streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some relevant links:

Zuccarello skates, but Rangers say he’s still out indefinitely

Cooper: ‘What got Montreal back in the series was what we did for big parts of the game’

On second thought, Game 1 made Lightning’s Cooper ‘want to vomit’

Can the Rangers win the Cup like this?

A good kicking: Rangers best Lightning for 1-0 series lead

Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

Bolts mum on what’s ailing Brian Boyle

Bolts mum on what’s ailing Brian Boyle

7 Comments

Ah yes, the playoffs — where injury information is guarded with the kind of zeal normally reserved for the Secret Service.

On Monday, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper offered virtually nothing on the status of injured forward Brian Boyle, who (somewhat surprisingly) missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers with an upper-body injury.

“The update is there is no update,” Cooper said on Monday.

The Bolts further added to the mystery by having Boyle skate this morning, followed by an “organizational decision” to keep him away from reporters afterward. There was no word if he’d draw in for Game 2 or not.

The towering fourth-line center has been a key contributor for Tampa Bay this spring. He appeared in all 13 playoff games prior to Saturday’s 2-1 loss at MSG and, while he only has two points, Boyle has been good in the faceoff circle, sitting third on the team in draws taken (162) and in winning percentage (53.7).

The former Ranger also has a wealth of playoff experience, with 71 games on his resume.

Related: Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing