Lightning lead series 1-0
The Tampa Bay Lightning have hurdled every obstacle this postseason despite plenty of adversity and look to gain a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference final when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 2 on Monday. The Lightning, who have been down two of their top players throughout the playoffs, lost Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop in the first period Friday before grabbing a 3-1 win in Game 1.
Bishop was stretchered off, but Tampa Bay got good news when X-rays came back negative on his left leg and he is considered day-to-day while captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot) and top-pair defenseman Anton Stralman (broken fibula) could return at some point in the series. “It’s just being in these situations before,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “. … How you deal with just all the unknown circumstances that can happen. I think our guys, they’ve passed every test.” The Penguins had a 35-20 edge in shots during Game 1, but coach Mike Sullivan told reporters it was the high quality chances they gave up which is the biggest concern going forward. “I don’t think it was our best game,” Sullivan told reporters. “And that’s what we need at this point of the season.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVAS
Lightning – Andrei Vasilevskiy (W/L: 1-0, GAA: 0.78, SAVE %: .971)
Penguins – Matthew Murray (W/L: 7-3, GAA: 2.15, SAVE %: .929)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (55-33-5, 37-44 O/U): Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced after replacing Bishop and the team has total confidence in the 21-year-old Russian’s readiness to take over whenever he is needed. “If there’s one thing that Vasilevskiy will never be knocked for, it’s for preparation and work ethic,” Cooper told reporters. “That’s in his DNA.” Right wing Ryan Callahan avoided suspension after his five-minute major for a hit on Pittsburgh’s top defenseman Kris Letang in Game 1 and told reporters, “I’ve never been fined or suspended. So I take pride in that, to be an honest player.”
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (56-29-9, 41-36 O/U): Center Evgeni Malkin registered a game-high seven shots on goal Friday but extended his point drought to five contests, while captain Sidney Crosby has gone seven outings without a goal. Sullivan told reporters of his two stars: “What we’ve tried to reiterate to (them) is that they have to just continue on trying to focus on playing the game with right way and taking what they give us and not trying to force plays that aren’t there in order to try to score goals.” Power forward Patric Hornqvist scored in Game 1 to take over the team lead with six goals in the postseason.
* Lightning are 4-0 in their last 4 road games.
* Penguins are 0-5 in their last 5 Conference Finals games.
* Over is 12-3-2 in Penguins last 17 vs. Atlantic.
* Lightning are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
* Over is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings in Pittsburgh.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is crushing the Penguins as big home favorites with 71 percent of the wagers coming in on the big chalk. Over five goals is also drawing a large number at 79 percent of the Consensus picks. View full consensus data here.
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