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Varlamov stands tall, but Cirelli sends Bolts to Cup Final

Heading into tonight’s game one common factor was present in both of  the Tampa Bay Lightning losses this series. In both games Brayden Point was noticeably absent from the line-up. The Tampa Bay Lightning center is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the Conn Smythe, but how injured is he? The New York Islanders will be without one of their top defensemen Adam Pelech. Tonight will be which goalie is the most clutch and wants it more…

After taking a bad hit from Anders Lee, Anthony Cirelli would return to the game and play hero for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Point is back, but not 100%

Having missed the most time of anyone this series, Brayden Point returns to the lineup for a pivotal game. Win tonight and the Lightning punch their ticket to face the Dallas Stars. Lose and head to a winner take all game seven. Point will be a key in this game even if he’s only a distraction.

Isles strike first

With both teams buzzing their offensive zones, Devon Toews gets a slippery shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy for a 1-0 Islanders lead at 4:15.  Just over two minutes later the other Bolts player possibly in the Conn Smythe conversation Victor Hedman tied it up at one.

With his ninth goal he now moves into a tie with Bobby Orr and Brad Park for most goals in the playoffs with nine. The next two names on the list both have 11, Brian Leetch and Dustin Byufglien. Tampa would out-shoot the Islanders 17-6 through the first 20 minutes. Scoring chances also favored the Lightning 10-5 with Nikita Kucherov having three of those chances. With the assist on Hedman’s goal Kucherov tied Brad Richards with 26 playoff points in a single playoff season.

Second Period yields no more goals

Through two periods the Lightning have taken it to Semyon Varlamov. With 40 mins gone, Varlamov has faced 27 shots to Vasilevskiy’s 12. Both teams received their first opportunities on the power play, the Lightning getting nearly back to back chances. Neither team could gain a foothold while on the man advantage.

Varlamov standing tall

42-21 think about it, the Lightning have doubled the amount of shots compared to the Islanders. Through it all though, Varlamov stood tall stopping 41 of those shots. While the shots on goal didn’t show it, the period was a back and forth affair. The first overtime period though will begin with the Islanders on the penalty kill. Andy Greene sent to the box following a high stick on Kucherov. Due to Kucherov bleeding, Greene will serve four minutes, 3:37 will start the first overtime with New York trying to hold onto their playoff hopes.

Cirelli puts the series away

Varlamov at this point is the main reason the Islanders have gotten this far. While he played well in game five, he has played as well if not better through 65 minutes. Anthony Cirelli would get a puck past Varlamov to send the Lightning back to the Stanley Cup Final. They will face former assisnt coach Rick Bowness and his Dallas Stars for the most prestigious trophy in the sports world.

Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star – Victor Hedman: Got the typing goal in the first

2nd Star – Semyon Varlamov: Stopped 46 shots on 48 attempts.

1st Star – Anthony Cirelli: GWG in 1st OT


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