Golden Knights sink Sharks, advance to West final – ProHockeyTalk

05/16/2018

Tampa benefited from a three-goal outburst in the second period. Kucherov netted on the power play, Hedman found a fairly wide-open net to shoot at, and Brayden Point provided a late marker to give the Bolts a 4-1 edge through 40 minutes.

Games in Washington are starting at 8 p.m. local time., both on Tuesday night for Game 3 and also for Game 4.

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MORE: • Conference Finals schedule, TV info • NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

Amusingly enough, the Golden Knights will probably remain underdogs even as they advance to the third round. The Winnipeg Jets boast a frightening array of talent and a 3-2 lead in their series, while the Nashville Predators represented the West in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and won the Presidents’ Trophy. It’s not really an insult to Vegas to pencil both of those potential opponents as the favorites.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets (Series tied 1-1)

1st Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa power play, as it has in this series, was cooking in Game 3 and Stamkos got the scoring rolling with his NHL-best fifth goal with the man advantage. Barely two minutes into the second period, he would pick up his second point of the night with a secondary assist on Kucherov’s seventh of the playoffs.

With pockets bursting with money, Qatar, a small nation in the Middle East, is doing Capitals fans quite the service by flipping the bill to keep their metro system running late.

Hedman’s 5-on-5 game still needs some work, but No. 77 scored his first goal of the playoffs and added two helpers so no one will be complaining too much.

The Capitals certainly aren’t panicking at 2-1, but they need to be wary of their own ugly history when winning the first two games on the road (they’re 0-2 in a series where they do that). If Backstrom, one of the league’s best set-up men, can go and be effective, he can only help.

Stamkos stepped up his game with a 60% CF%, Vasilevskiy was solid, and the Lightning checked enough of the boxes elsewhere to get themselves back into the series, defeating the Capitals 4-2 in Game 3.

Vasilevskiy had never lost three straight playoff games, and he didn’t start a new trend on Tuesday, steering aside 35-of-37 shots he faced.

A side note: Home-ice advantage is a myth.

Not gonna lie, getting a little annoyed with the posts on that specific net.

One now has to wonder how the Caps will manage Backstrom’s injury going forward.

The previous five-year stretch saw 11 of 75 series end in sweeps (14.7%). #NHLStats #TBLvsWSH pic.twitter.com/2Bx9B9ZBeG

There’s an argument that they could have given him the night off on Tuesday to promote further healing with the team holding a healthy 2-0 lead series lead. We’ll see what happens for Game 4 Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

3rd Star: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Golden Knights are one of two teams who’ve punched their ticket to the third round, as the Tampa Bay Lightning bounced the Boston Bruins in Game 5 earlier on Sunday.

Kucherov got his first of the series, scoring on a one-timer on the power play.

Factoid of the Night:

Sean Leahy is a writer forPro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The conference finals are now set with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals meeting in the East and the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets facing off in the West. The round to determine who will play for the 2018 Stanley Cup will begin Friday.

While Marchessault’s goal was the game-winner, Nate Schmidt‘s strange goal seemed to break San Jose’s will. Despite carrying a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Golden Knights actually generated a 16-10 shots on goal advantage in the final frame, and the Sharks looked dead in the water for most of that time. Chalk it up to some combination of broken spirits, fresher legs, or frustration against a hot hand in net, but San Jose’s season ended with a whimper.

On Tuesday, Evans told The Washington Post that the tiny, wealthy nation of Qatar has agreed to pay the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open until 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, when the Capitals host Game 4. That game also is set for an 8 p.m. start.

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— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 16, 2018

And, really, at this point, the Golden Knights really must savor such a role. They’ve defied expectations over and over again during their inaugural season, and that now includes reaching the third round without even facing elimination yet.

A country not located on the continent of North America is apparently putting up $100,000 to keep the trains running in Washington for an extra hour on Thursday night for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.

At least it did.

2nd Star: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Metro stays open until 11:30 p.m. local time on weeknights, meaning if the game goes into overtime, taking the train ceases to be an option.

It’s fitting that the Golden Knights eliminated the Sharks in Game 6 (score: 3-0) thanks to a lot of the things that went their way during the regular season:

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Friday, May 11, 8pm: Capitals 4, Lightning 2Sunday, May 13, 8pm: Capitals 6, Lightning 2Tuesday, May 15, 8pm: Lightning 4, Capitals 2Thursday, May 17, 8pm: Lightning @ Capitals | NBCSN*Saturday, May 19, 7:15pm: Capitals @ Lightning | NBC*Monday, May 21, 8pm: Lightning @ Capitals | NBCSN*Wednesday, May 23, 8pm: Capitals @ Lightning | NBCSN

MORE: • Conference Finals schedule, TV info • NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

[PHT’s Three Stars: Lightning power play stays hot in Game 3 win]

Washington didn’t have much of the magic they found in abundance in Tampa, although their possession numbers showed they controlled the majority of the shot share.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Saturday, May 12, 7pm: Jets 4, Golden Knights 2Monday, May 14, 8pm: Golden Knights 3, Jets 1Wednesday, May 16, 9pm: Jets @ Golden Knights | NBCSNFriday, May 18, 8pm: Jets @ Golden Knights | NBCSN*Sunday, May 20, 3pm: Golden Knights @ Jets | NBC*Tuesday, May 22, 9pm: Jets @ Golden Knights | NBCSN*Thursday, May 24, 8pm: Golden Knights @ Jets | NBCSN

Here’s the full Round 3 schedule:

— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) May 7, 2018

MORE: • Conference Finals schedule, TV info • NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

It really makes you wonder if anyone can play “The Cooler” in this incredible story.

Hedman had a hand in three of Tampa’s four goals with a goal and two assists in Game 3. He also led all Lightning players with 25:08 of ice time. After assisting on both power play goals to open the scoring, he made good on a sweet Nikita Kucherov pass to extend their lead to 3-0.

On Sunday night, the Vegas Golden Knights silenced the San Jose Sharks just like they continue to silence their critics. Add “advance to the Western Conference final in first season” to the Golden Knights’ scroll-length list of accomplishments.

Wednesday’s schedule: Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Series tied 1-1)

MORE: • PHT 2018 Conference Finals Roundtable • PHT predicts NHL’s Conference Finals • NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

The Post said Qatar has previously invested in Washington’s city center.

— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) May 7, 2018

And perhaps most importantly, getting an outing from Andrei Vasilevskiy that was reminiscent of those that made him a Vezina Trophy finalist this year.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

As PHT’s James O’Brien pointed out on Tuesday, improved performances from Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman in terms of puck possession would’ve been a start.

[Lightning ride three-goal second period in 4-2 win]

Per the Washington Post:

Nikita Kucherov finding the back of the net for the first time in the series would also help.

The list of things the Tampa Bay Lightning needed to do to avoid falling behind 0-3 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Washington Capitals was getting long.

Highlight of the Night: This Stamkos goal was quite a rocket:

And Vasilevskiy looked much less fatigued than he did in the first two games, where he allowed 10 goals in five periods of play and never eclipsed a .850 save percentage.

Following a tough first two games of the series, Vasilevskiy bounced back in Game 3 with a 36-save performance during a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals. He was peppered all night, with 21 of the 36 shots he faced coming off the sticks of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Lightning now trail the Capitals 2-1 in the series with Game 4 Thursday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) in D.C.

He had to be particularly good late in the game after Evgeny Kuznetsov (no surprise) found paydirt from a dirty angle for his sixth point in the series with Washington’s net empty.

The Caps are 7-1 on the road in the playoffs and 3-4 at Capital One Arena. Tampa, meanwhile, improved to 4-1 away from AMALIE Arena.

Pretty abysmal third period for the Sharks so far, frankly. Looks like Vegas is the team trying to erase the lead, not San Jose

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals (Caps lead series 2-0)

Metro, which provides transportation service to Washington’s metropolitan area, has extended its hours on Tuesday as well after Exelon and Pepco wrote the cheque to keep the rails running, the Post reported.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, also chair of the Metro board, said last week that he had been in discussions with a couple of companies that were considering paying the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open an additional hour, and Exelon and Pepco stepped up for Tuesday night.

DYK? There have been only seven sweeps in the #StanleyCup Playoffs since the bracket format was introduced in 2014 (7 of 74 series; 9.5%), with none occurring beyond the Second Round.

Here’s a strange story.