The Tampa Bay Lightning will play for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Lightning earned a 3-1 decision in Game 5 on Sunday afternoon against the Boston Bruins, sending the Bruins into hibernation mode after taking the series 4-1.
The series will be largely defined by what the line of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson were able to accomplish after Tampa’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Miller took a back seat.
Point, who finished with seven points in the series, helped the Lightning rebound from their 6-2 Game 1 defeat with a four-point night, a performance that one could argue was a turning point in the series. The Lightning cruised from there, allowing eight goals during their four-game winning streak.
Point’s time-on-ice jumped by over two minutes from Game 1 to Game 5, and it was well-deserved.
Contributions from Tampa’s top line weren’t as relevant as they were against the New Jersey Devils. Kucherov had 10 points in that series but just two points in the second round. Stamkos had a pivotal goal in Game 4 to force overtime, but had only an empty-netter otherwise.
Miller made his presence felt in Game 5, first by knocking David Backes out of the game with a crushing hit in the second period, and then minutes later, offering up the go-ahead goal that stood as the game-winner.
Boston, meanwhile, couldn’t find much in the way of scoring outside of Game 1.
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak combined four just four goals over the final four games of the series and secondary scoring from the Bruins was virtually non-existent, ultimately spelling the end to Boston’s season.
The Lightning now waits for the winner between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington leads the series 3-2 after a 6-3 win on Saturday.