Lightning to play Bruins or Islanders in Stanley Cup Semifinals

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Boston Bruins or New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

Tampa Bay defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in the Stanley Cup Second Round, and the Florida Panthers in six games in the first round.

Tampa Bay will have home-ice advantage against Boston or New York. The Islanders can advance by winning Game 6 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Lightning in winning the Stanley Cup last season defeated the Bruins in five games in the Eastern Conference Second Round and the Islanders in six games in the Eastern Conference Final. 

Tampa Bay advanced to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons and has won each of the three playoff series against New York and two of three against Boston.

Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov led the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 10 games entering Tuesday. Steven Stamkos has scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists), and Brayden Point (seven goals, four assists), Alex Killorn (six goals, five assists) and Victor Hedman (11 assists) each scored 11 points. Andrei Vasilevskiy was 7-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 10 games.

The Lightning (Discover Central Division), who did not play the Bruins or Islanders (Mass Mutual East Division) this season because of temporary realignment due to COVID-19, were 3-1-0 against the Bruins last season. Point scored four points (two goals, two assists), and Stamkos (two goals, one assist) and Kucherov (one goal, three assists) each scored three points. Vasilevskiy started each of the four games and had a 2.46 GAA and .928 save percentage.

The Bruins were led by David Pastrnak (three goals, two assists) and Brad Marchand (one goal, four assists), who each scored five points against the Lightning. Patrice Bergeron (two goals, one assist) and Charlie McAvoy (one goal, two assists) each scored three points. Tuukka Rask was 1-2-1 with a 2.73 GAA and .902 save percentage.

The Lightning lost two of three games to the Islanders last season. Stamkos scored three points (two goals, one assist), and Point and Yanni Gourde each had a goal and an assist. Vasilevskiy was 1-1-0 with a 2.54 GAA and an .884 save percentage, and Curtis McElhinney allowed five goals on 24 shots in a 5-1 loss Dec. 9, 2019.

Josh Bailey (two goals, three assists) and Anders Lee (two goals, three assists) led the Islanders with five points each against the Lightning last season. Mathew Barzal scored three points (one goal, two assists), and Brock Nelson scored two goals. Semyon Varlamov was 1-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA and .951 save percentage in two games.

The Montreal Canadiens will play the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights in the other semifinal.

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