Posted March 03, 2019 05:37:25When the Lightning made the playoffs last season, they lost the opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning had to go back to Florida to make it to the Western Conference Finals, and while they made it there, they fell short in Game 4.
It wasn’t just the Lightning that were struggling with the puck this season.
The Boston Bruins also missed the playoffs by a single game, and the Philadelphia Flyers lost the first two games of the season to fall to the San Jose Sharks in the first round.
The rest of hockey was not as kind to the Lightning, though.
With a healthy Marian Gaborik and a hot prospect in Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning won the Stanley Cups in 2017 and 2018 and have made the postseason in each of the past three seasons.
But it wasn’t until a year ago that the Lightning found a way to take back their first playoff series in five years, defeating the Florida Marlies 2-1 on Saturday.
In Game 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-0 lead, then took the game to the Bruins in the second period.
After getting the puck back from the Bruins, the Bruins scored on a 2-on-1 power play, then scored on the power play again to tie the game.
The Lightning answered back with a goal from Tyler Johnson in the third period, but the Bruins tied it up at 1:34 of the third with a shorthanded goal.
The Bruins made it 2-0 on the PP at 3:13 of the second when the Marlies’ Matt Calvert-Bruins defenseman turned it over.
The puck was passed back to the team on the far side, where Martin St. Louis scored.
The goal gave the Bruins a 2.2-goal lead, and they led 3-1.
However, the Marlie goal gave them a 3.5-point lead, allowing the Bruins to tie it at 3.
In the third, the Stars tied it at 4:05 when Martin Hanzal scored his second goal of the night.
In the third overtime, the Flyers tied it again with the same goal.
The Stars then scored again to give the Bruins their third consecutive win in regulation.
The Marlies, on the other hand, tied it for the second time with 3:30 left in the fourth.
With the game tied 3-3, the Pens and Stars traded power play goals in the final minute of regulation.
In overtime, Brett Connolly scored from the top of the left circle for the Pens, and Jakub Voracek made it a 4-3 shootout.
The Penguins have the first overall pick in next year’s draft.
The Bruins and Lightning will play each other in the playoffs.