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NHL Bubble Wrap: Lightning eliminate Bruins to advance; Avalanche squash Stars

NHL Bubble Wrap: Lightning bounce Bruins to advance; Avalanche squash Stars

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 31: Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning shakes hands with Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Boston Bruins after the Lightning’s 3-2 victory during the second overtime period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 31, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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  • The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins have been eliminated. They certainly went out with a fight, although falling in five games still stings.
  • Both the Avalanche and Stars surprised people with their Game 5 goalie choices.
  • Yes, the Lightning advanced, but Nikita Kucherov’s injury makes them vulnerable, and they have to root for the Flyers for at least a game or two to buy some time to heal.

Scores for Game 5 of Bruins - Lightning, Stars - Avalanche

Lightning 3, Bruins 2 [2 OT] (TBL wins series 4-1)

Yes, getting eliminated in five games hurts, and the Bruins can’t be happy with the way their season ended in the Second Round. But it must be said that this was pretty tight series. While the Lightning won four games in a row to advance to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, Tampa Bay needed two wins in OT. The Bruins carried significant chunks of the play in Game 5, but the Lightning advanced. It could be crucial that Tampa Bay ended this here, as a Kucherov injury looms large. We’ll get to the main reason they won Game 5 in the three stars section, by the way ...

Avalanche 6, Stars 3 (DAL leads series 3-2)

With their season on the line, the Avalanche absolutely stormed out of the gate to make Ben Bishop’s return to playoff action as short as it was surprising. By scoring four goals during a dizzying 2:36 span, the Avalanche fell a second short of tying the NHL record for the fastest four goals in NHL playoff history. The Avalanche managed a 5-0 lead through the first period, and really just needed to coast from there. It made for a busy first career playoff win for journeyman goalie Michael Hutchinson, as the Stars carried the play when the game was lopsided. There was plenty of nastiness in this one, so it will be interesting to see what carries over to Game 6 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN (livestream).


NHL Three Stars: Monday’s 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs games

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Once Kucherov went down with an injury that Tampa Bay has to hope isn’t major, the Lightning only had 10 forwards to go with seven defensemen. That might explain why certain stretches were rather lopsided, as the Bruins pushed hard. That said, they couldn’t muster much against the Lightning at even-strength in this series. Beyond David Pastrnak’s power-play goal, David Krejci sent Game 5 to OT on a pretty random bounce. Frankly, that’s just what you were going to get against Vasilevskiy. He made 45 saves to close out this series. So far during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vasilevskiy boasts a .931 save percentage through 13 games. Perhaps he’ll be worth that $9.5M cap hit going forward, after all?

2. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

As much as people focus on that Blue Jackets sweep, the Lightning have put together plenty of deep playoff runs with Victor Hedman among their most important contributors. Yet, through two rounds, Hedman set new career-highs with goals (five) and game-winners (two) during a single postseason run. Overall, Hedman provided a ... Hedman-sized effort in Game 5: that overtime game-winner, an assist, a +3 rating, and 38:25 TOI. On that note, a longer rest might not just be nice for Kucherov healing, but also resting the likes of Hedman. With the injuries pile up, the Lightning are going to need even more from their remaining top stars.

3. Andre Burakovsky, Colorado Avalanche

Goals sometimes felt like miracles in that tight East series, while Stars - Avs has been about as orderly as a destruction derby. While the Avalanche won Game 5 thanks to a first period onslaught, Burakovsky helped to keep it that way. The second of Burakovsky’s two goals was quite important, as the Stars were showing life by reducing Colorado’s lead to 5-2. Once Burakovsky made it 6-2, it was clinical. Burakovsky generated three points (2G, 1A) as Colorado’s supporting cast has come alive lately. With the way things are going in this Second Round series, Burakovsky might need to author another big game or two for the Avs to continue their comeback push.

Highlights from Game 5 of Bruins - Lightning and Stars - Avalanche

Watch out the Lightning eliminated the Bruins in Game 5, thus advancing to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final:

The Avalanche ran away with Game 5 early on against the Stars:

Game 5: Islanders vs. Flyers (NYI lead 3-1) - 7 p.m. ET - NBCSN (livestream)
Game 5: Canucks vs. Golden Knights (VGK leads 3-1) - 9:45 p.m. ET - NBCSN (livestream)

PHT’s 2020 Second Round previews
Bruins vs. Lightning
Flyers vs. Islanders
Stars vs. Avalanche
Golden Knights vs. Canucks
PHT predictions