Tampa is out to make history, but could a New York Rangers team that’s overcome adversity in the first two rounds keep them from winning a third straight Stanley Cup?
While both teams needed seven games to get out of the first round, the Lightning swept their series against Florida, and haven’t played in eight days. The Rangers defeated Carolina in Game Seven on Monday night for the right to take on the Bolts, and we’ll find out at least for Game One if it’s better to be extremely well rested, or to have the momentum carry you through.
Unlike whatever that is (gesturing wildly over at the Western Conference matchup), this series is all about the goaltending. The top two goaltenders in the playoffs are Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin, and if you love yourself some dominant goaltending, this is the series for you.
It’s not to say that either team lacks offensive firepower, though. Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox would be Conn Smythe contenders if not for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl right now, and Tampa’s gotten some balanced scoring to get them through to Round Three. It’s not going to be 8-6 games, but there won’t be any less exciting action in this one.
Another big factor? Special teams. The top remaining penalty kill of the Lightning against a merciless power play from the New York Rangers that could be what breaks this series for either team.