Gourde sends the Lightning to the Final

More than a team stands between the Tampa Bay Lightning and a second straight Stanley Cup conquest. And it’s the Montreal Canadiens.

For the second year in a row, the Florida team secured their ticket to the grand final by disposing the New York Islanders in the four-quarter, this time with a narrow 1-0 victory in the semi-final game. -final, Friday.

READ ALSO : The Lightning touches the Prince of Wales Trophy

Yanni Gourde, shorthanded, was the only scorer of an outrageously dominated evening by Jon Cooper’s troupe. The Quebecer took advantage of a brilliant pass from Anthony Cirelli to score his team at 1:49 of the second period. It didn’t take more than that.

“It’s really an exceptional moment, launched the hero of the day. Rarely have I been so excited to score a goal in my career. I was feeling good nervousness and excitement for the game. I was really happy to be part of it and the whole team played the right way. « 

Especially his keeper, even if he’s been busier before. Andrei Vasilevskiy signed his fourth shutout of the playoffs – a second against the Islanders – by repelling all 18 shots aimed at him. The Russian goalkeeper thus concluded a fourth series in a row with a shutout, if we go back to the Final last year against the Dallas Stars.

“We can’t say much more about Andrei,” said captain Steven Stamkos. He’s not the best in the world for nothing. He is the rock that allows us to play freely with rhythm and confidence. « 

This other flawless performance set the table wonderfully for a confrontation with Carey Price, his counterpart from the North, on the biggest stage of hockey. The Lightning-Habs Final kicks off Monday (8 p.m. ET; TVAS, CBC, SN) at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

“For me, it’s going to be really big to play against Montreal,” added Gourde. This is the team I watched growing up. It’s really exciting to be in a final against the Canadiens. At the same time, we have to stay calm and manage our emotions well in these situations. « 

The Islanders, for their part, missed another opportunity to end a 37-year scarcity without a presence in the Final. They had forced a seventh game through a superb comeback completed in overtime in the last duel, but the Lightning gave him no hope this time.

The locals limited the chances of scoring Barry Trotz’s troops to the maximum, and apart from an offensive surge in the second half of the third period, the New York side were never able to establish their game in opposing territory. .

Video: Gourde and Lightning are back in the Final

« These playoff games are very demanding for a team, » said Trotz, speaking of his last two rounds. This group was prepared to do anything to achieve its goal. I would like to be able to relieve their pain. I experienced a conquest and I wish they could experience these feelings.  »

With his 30 saves, Semyon Varlamov did his best to give his team a chance until the very last second. In vain. The Lightning still haven’t lost two games in a row in their last two playoff appearances.

Disappointment and relief

Chances are it won’t matter much to him, but Brayden Point saw his streak of nine straight games with at least one goal ended in victory. It was only one goal away from equaling the record held by Reggie Leach.

Point, who leads the Lightning with 14 goals this spring, will have to settle for the chance to win the Stanley Cup. It is still no small consolation.

On another note, Russian striker Nikita Kucherov took part in the meeting, which represented a questionable case. He was used for 16:03, taking two shots on goal and distributing as many hits.

« There was no doubt that I was there tonight, » replied Kucherov, who left the last game after suffering a double check. I felt good and it was an ultimate game. You have to sacrifice yourself to share these moments with the guys. « 

« That’s not the feeling I had, » Cooper laughed when he was told about Kucherov’s words. I’m glad that was how he felt because he has the only vote that matters. « 

Laisser un commentaire