While the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes were to seal the outcome of their series in a seventh game on Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning was able to continue to lick their wounds while waiting for the conference final. ‘East.
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions haven’t played since their sweep of the Florida Panthers was confirmed on May 23. It was a great opportunity to heal various ailments or, in some cases, to approach a return to action.
This is obviously the case of Brayden Point, away with a lower body injury suffered during the seventh game of the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The veteran will miss the first two games of the third-round showdown, according to head coach Jon Cooper. Then there’s winger Brandon Hagel, who is expected to return to competition on Wednesday after being hit in the foot by a puck, although he missed another session on Sunday. Finally, defender Mikhail Sergachev reunited with his teammates after his absence on Friday.
« We’re quietly finding our guys and trying to get them on the pace as we prepare for the next series, no matter who, » Cooper told NHL.com. We’re trying to replicate something that we might see on Wednesday. It’s practically impossible to do, but we had a little more structure. The goal today [dimanche] was to be a little more focused on physical contact than on wide open play.
Whether it’s the Blueshirts or the « Canes », the Lightning will find themselves in familiar territory at the next stage. He had defeated Carolina in six games in the second round last year, even without having home ice advantage at the start. Also, he had the upper hand in seven games against the New York team in the third round of spring 2015. Some supporters of the « Bolts » also remember that defender Ryan McDonagh was playing in the opposing camp at the time.
Tampa Bay wants to become the first club this year since the New York Islanders (1980-1983) to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row.