Win and you’re in. Certainly something the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to do against the New Jersey Devils as they could be the first eastern conference team to move on to the next round. Though the series lead doesn’t reflect it, this has been a very close series and today The Devils were looking to stave off elimination as they look to beat the Lightning in Tampa. A task that’s easier said than done.
The first period was overall very close as the shots were 11-10 in favour of the Devils. It would be the Lightning who would be the only team to tally a goal in the period, and it would be their first goal of the series by a defenceman. The goal was scored eight minutes into the game and it would be a point shot by Mikhail Sergachev that would find its way short side on Devils netminder Corey Schneider. The shot went through a maze of bodies as Schneider had no way of seeing the puck. As a result the Lightning would take a 1-0 lead into the second period.
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Frustration clearly took over the Devils in the second period as they took penalty after penalty. The Devils would take a total of five penalties in the second period, thankfully for them the Lightning were unable to score on any of them. That being said being shorthanded for half the period meant they were horribly out shot 18-4 by Tampa. The second period would end still 1-0 for the Lightning, and with one period to go the Devils season hung by a thread.
After an abysmal second period for New Jersey, they came out of the third guns blazing. However the Lightning would get the next goal as Nikita Kucherov would score on a long range wristshot for his fifth tally of the series. The goal would come at the twelve minute mark of the period, and now down 2-0 the Devils needed to find a way to solve Andrei Vasilevskiy. Sure enough with the extra attacker and three minutes left in the game they manged to do so. It would be a point shot by Palmieri that would be tipped in front by Patrick Maroon that drew the Devils within a goal of tying the game. The following faceoff however the Lighting would force a turnover and get a breakaway against Schneider. Schneider would make a circus glove save to try to preserve the dream, but it was to no avail. The Lightning would get an empty net goal by Ryan Callahan to seal the deal, and despite being out shot 12-10 by the Devils it would be the Lightning taking the 3-1 victory. The series would end 4-1 for Tampa and the final shots in game five would go 38-27 for the Lightning. Tampa will now await the winners of the Boston Toronto series game six of that takes place today at 7:30 ET 4:30 PT.