RALEIGH, N.C. — The Lightning’s vaunted power-play unit was held to only one shot on aim by the Carolina Hurricanes throughout Recreation 1 on Sunday.
However that one shot — Brayden Level’s second-period tip-in 1:19 into Tampa Bay’s first energy play halfway by means of the second interval — discovered the again of the online in Tampa Bay’s 2-1 win at PNC Enviornment.
Whereas that one shot was game-changing, it wasn’t almost the amount or manufacturing the Lightning noticed within the first spherical in opposition to the Panthers. Tampa Bay transformed 40 % of its energy play alternatives (8-for-20) in that collection.
However there’s not a extra aggressive penalty-kill unit within the league than the Hurricanes’. Utilizing a few of their quickest and most offensive-minded skaters, similar to Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas, they apply strain in all three zones and drive you to make fast selections.
“They don’t offer you plenty of house,” Level mentioned. “They drive you to make fast performs, and should you bobble a puck they’re on you straight away. And one other factor really is their up-ice strain. They did an incredible job disrupting our breakout. We had been fortunate sufficient to get an opportunity and we capitalized on it however, yeah, that’s one thing we’ve acquired to take a look at, for positive.”
The Hurricanes had the league’s third-best penalty-kill unit (85.2 %) in the course of the common season and entered this collection ranked third amongst playoff groups (88.5). They didn’t enable a power-play aim in 13 house penalty-kill conditions of their first-round collection in opposition to the Predators.
Carolina’s strain gained’t enable Tampa Bay to arrange its energy play and decide aside defenses with its bounty of scoring weapons. The Hurricanes hope to make issues chaotic for a power-play unit and drive it right into a mistake. The Lightning must suppose rapidly — and one step forward — to achieve success.
“They’re taking the gamble that you would be able to’t make performs beneath strain, and we’re saying we will,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “Typically penalty kill works and typically it results in the online prefer it did (Sunday) night time. The factor is, they do it rather well. There’s a motive they’d one of many prime penalty kills within the league, as a result of they’ve acquired a plan. It’s simply not all run-and-gun and hope the opposite workforce screws up.
“They strain you onerous, they know the place they’re going, and once they’re going. And so you must work, the ability play has to work to get to their spots and know the place guys are. You need to suppose and make performs at a excessive charge of velocity, and principally that’s how we ended up scoring our aim.”
Earlier than the Lightning scored their aim, they struggled getting the puck out of their very own zone. It took them 69 seconds into the ability play to make a shot try, a blocked shot off the stick of Hedman.
On Level’s aim, Hedman needed to act rapidly. After a puck battle alongside the far wall, Nikita Kucherov handed the puck to Hedman on the level, and Hedman rapidly despatched it towards the entrance of the online as Level acquired inside leverage on Carolina defenseman Jani Hakanpaa. Hedman noticed simply sufficient space to search out Level’s stick for a redirect previous Carolina goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
“I used to be looking for a stick, and good tip by him,” Hedman mentioned.
The Lightning manufactured simply eight shot makes an attempt, seven of which had been blocked, throughout their 4 minutes, 34 seconds of power-play time. The Hurricanes had extra shorthanded pictures on aim (two). However as the sport progressed, Tampa Bay’s gamers clearly purchased into the concept that they wanted to direct extra pucks towards the online rapidly. That they had a game-high 4 shot makes an attempt on their ultimate energy play of the night time.
“They converge so onerous to the puck, and plenty of instances they’re profitable in getting it,” Lightning ahead Alex Killorn mentioned. “But when you can also make a play the place it will get by means of a man, then they’ve two guys going to 1, that’s when performs will open up, and I feel that’s type of what occurred on Pointer’s (aim). Pointer had half a step on a man, and he makes an incredible play.
“There’s other ways to do it. I feel you simply need to keep it up. I imply, we had nothing moving into that first energy play, and we find yourself scoring on the finish.”
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