And then there were six. The Lightning took care of business on Tuesday night, knocking out the Hurricanes and becoming the second team to advance to the semi-finals after Montreal finished its sweep of Winnipeg the night previous. Andrei Vasilevskiy earned the shutout and Brayen Point and Ross Colton provided the offense for the Lightning.
There were 40 seconds in between the Avalanche nearly winning in overtime and the Golden Knights actually doing it. In the 40 seconds after Marc-Andre Fleury stopped a point-blank shot from J.T. Compher to begin overtime, Mark Stone broke free off his own blocked shot to cap off the Golden Knights comeback and give them their first series lead.
Tuesday Three Stars
1. Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights
If anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Stone.
The Selke finalist blocked a shot and raced down ice to beat the Avalanche all on his own and send the Golden Knights to their first lead of the entire series, and now they’re going back home.
It was Stone’s fifth goal these playoffs, and the most crucial. The Knights had stormed back trailing 2-0 in the third period to force overtime in the span of 3:04, then nearly lost 10 seconds into the extra frame. Instead, Stone took advantage of the first opportunity he got, and now the Golden Knights have their first lead.
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Once again, the best goalie in the world played like the best goalie in the world. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves to shut out the Hurricanes and advance the Lightning to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.
Vasilevskiy allowed nine goals the entire series against one of the best offenses in the league, and four of those came in one game. On Tuesday night, he held Carolina down while the Lightning offense found its footing in the second period. Next, he’ll get either the Bruins or Islanders.
3. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point has become one of the most dangerous postseason players in the league. The Lightning scorer now has eight goals this postseason, including Tuesday night’s game winner that sent them to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.
Point tallied his power play goal 4:06 into the second period, and while they didn’t know it at the time, that’s all they and Vasilevskiy needed in order to send the Hurricanes packing.
In 31 games over the past two postseasons, Point has produced 42 points. He’s been the heartbeat of one of the best playoff teams throughout this entire period.
Highlights from Tuesday
* Andrei Vasilevskiy made a key save before the Lightning found the scoreboard in the second period.
* Brandon Saad scored with the clock nearly gone in the first period to open the Avalanche scoring.
* Jonathan Marchessault continued his hot streak with the game-tying goal to send the Golden Knights to overtime.
Game 5: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET (NYI leads 3-2) – NBCSN (livestream)