NHL roundup: Lightning take series lead 2-0 with another road win
RALEIGH, NC – Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli scored as Andrei Vasilevskiy was once again strong in goal, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday night to a 2-0 lead. in their second round playoff series.
Vasilevskiy finished with 31 saves after being named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy awarded annually to the league’s best goalkeeper. It came two days after making 37 saves in a 2-1 win in Game 1, including 15 saves in the first period.
Killorn put the Lightning on the board at 7:09 of the second period when he fired an upfront shot in front of Alex Nedeljkovic. The goalie was protected by teammate Jaccob Slavin struggling with Cirelli and didn’t appear to see the puck until it got past him into the net.
Cirelli added to the Tampa Bay lead by taking Victor Hedman’s extended pass and breaking free from Brady Skjei before converting a backhand to make it 2-0 at 8:06 of the third.
The Lightning didn’t generate much offense otherwise. They finished with just 15 shots, compared to 32 for the Hurricanes.
Still, just as they did in the first round against Florida, the reigning Stanley Cup champions opened a best-of-seven streak with two road wins, this time against the Central Division champions. They host Game 3 on Thursday.
Andrei Svechnikov put Carolina on the board with 1:30 left, taking a pass from Jordan Staal behind the net and finishing off the crease.
It was a rare moment when the Hurricanes managed to build pressure and traffic around Vasilevskiy. This included Martin Necas who missed the net on a shorthanded two-on-one breakaway in the second period, that game ending with Vasilevskiy’s stick out of his hand and spinning on the ice as he was beating the puck.
The Hurricanes took a big hit in this one when Vincent Trocheck picked up an injury late in the second period when he and teammate Warren Foegele bumped their legs as they attempted to skate one against the other.
Trocheck put little to no weight on his right leg as he skated to the bench, slamming his stick along the way before heading to the locker room. He played a short shift in the third, but didn’t come back.
PENGUINS: After another early exit from the playoffs and with new decision makers at the front office, questions emerged last week about the employment status of coach Mike Sullivan.
However, a source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Sullivan will return “100%” behind the bench for the 2021-22 season. The coach has three more years to extend on a contract extension he signed in July 2019, and he has the full support of new GM Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke.
Sullivan, 53, won the Stanley Cup twice in his first 18 months at Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017. But in the years that followed, he was put to the test by injuries to key players, changes in coaching staff and disappointing playoff performances.