3 Keys: Lightning at Hurricanes, Game 2 of second round


No. 3 Lightning at No. 1 Hurricanes

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS

Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series, 1-0

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to win consecutive road games to start a best-of-7 series for the second straight time when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at PNC Arena on Tuesday.

The Lightning won 2-1 in Game 1 on Sunday behind 37 saves from goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and a game-winning goal from forward Barclay Goodrow at 12:39 of the third period. 

They won the first two games in the first round at the Florida Panthers before going on to win the series in six games.

Tampa Bay has never lost a series it led 2-0, going 7-0 all time. 

The Hurricanes won Games 1 and 2 in the first round against the Nashville Predators, but lost the next two, each in double overtime. They were down going into the third period in Games 5 and 6, but came back to win each in overtime.

Carolina has allowed the first goal in six of its seven playoff games. 

“We have faced adversity all season long so this is nothing new for us,” Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce said. “We’ll get it done tonight.”

Teams that take a 2-0 lead are 334-51 (86.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 4-0 in the first round. Teams that take a 2-0 lead on the road are 82-20 (80.4 percent) winning the series, including 2-0 in the first round.

Here are 3 keys for Game 2:


1. Traffic in front of Vasilevskiy

Look for the Hurricanes to try to crash the net more in Game 2. They want to be better at providing screens against Vasilevskiy on long-range shots with multiple players going to the net to find rebounds if he leaves them.

It’s the usual recipe for success in the playoffs, but the Hurricanes didn’t feel they cooked up enough traffic on Vasilevskiy in Game 1, despite getting 38 shots on goal.

“He’s doesn’t get frustrated a lot,” said Carolina forward Cedric Paquette, who played the past six seasons with Tampa Bay. “Like any goalie, traffic in front, lots of shots, lots of backdoor plays, but he’s the best goalie for a reason. We need to make him uncomfortable.”


2. Lightning power-play adjustments

Tampa Bay might be quicker to shoot on its power play in Game 2 rather than looking to find the right set-up in its umbrella formation.

The Lightning scored on one of their three power plays in Game 1. But the goal came after they struggled against the Hurricanes pressuring penalty kill that created turnovers and led to clears and forced fumbled pucks on zone entries.

Center Brayden Point scored because the puck came to defenseman Victor Hedman at the point and instead of looking to try to set up, he took a quick shot that found Point’s stick in front for a redirection into the net. 

“They’re taking the gamble that you can’t make plays under pressure and we’re saying we can,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “They do it really well. There’s a reason they had one of the top penalty kills in the league. They’ve got a plan. It’s just not all run-and-gun and hope the other team screws up. They pressure you hard, they know where you’re going and when they’re going, so you have to work. The power play has to work, think and make plays at a high rate of speed.”


3. Nedeljkovic’s response

The Hurricanes aren’t worried about rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, even though he’d likely prefer a do-over on Goodrow’s game-winning goal in Game 1.

Goodrow scored from low in the left circle with a low shot to the short side. Nedeljkovic pulled his right pad back to create an opening by the near post and the puck went in under his blocker.

Otherwise, he made 28 saves. 

“He trusts himself and he should,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Nedeljkovic. “We all have things that don’t go our way, little mistakes here and there. It always defines who you are how you respond to that stuff. He’ll bounce back for sure.”

Nedeljkovic was 3-1-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .935 save percentage following a loss during the regular season. He was 1-1 with a 2.29 GAA and .912 save percentage following a loss in the first round; the loss was in double overtime in Game 4, when he allowed four goals on 43 shots.


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov

Alex KillornAnthony CirelliSteven Stamkos

Barclay Goodrow — Yanni GourdeBlake Coleman

Pat MaroonTyler JohnsonRoss Colton

Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonaghErik Cernak

Mikhail SergachevLuke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Alex Barre-Boulet, Mitchell Stephens, Daniel Walcott, Fredrik Claesson, Cal Foote, Mathieu Joseph, Ben Thomas, Christopher Gibson

Injured: David Savard (upper body)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Brock McGinnSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen

Jordan MartinookVincent TrocheckMartin Necas

Andrei SvechnikovJordan StaalWarren Foegele

Cedric Paquette — Steven LorentzJesper Fast

Jaccob SlavinDougie Hamilton

Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce

Jake BeanJani Hakanpaa

Alex Nedeljkovic

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Morgan Geekie, Jake Gardiner, Maxime Lajoie, Max McCormick, Drew Shore, Ryan Suzuki, Roland McKeown, James Reimer

Injured: Nino Niederreiter (upper body)


Status report

The Lightning held a limited morning skate Tuesday. … Cernak, who left with 1:45 remaining in the second period of a 2-1 win in Game 1, participated in the skate. So did Savard, a defenseman, who is day-to-day. … The Hurricanes will dress the same lineup they used in Game 1.

NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers and independent correspondent Kurt Dusterberg contributed to this report

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