TAMPA Denzel Ward Browns Jersey
, Fla. — The shutdown line for the Tampa Bay Lightning outscored New Jersey’s top scoring line in Game 1 of the opening-round series between the teams.
That’s a trend the Lightning look to continue heading into Saturday afternoon as the teams meet in Game 2 at Amalie Arena.
In Tampa Bay’s 5-2 victory over New Jersey in the first game of the series, the Lightning held MVP candidate Taylor Hall to one point at even strength, and that was a gift-wrapped goal in the second period. Hall, along with linemates Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri, was kept in check with five shots on goal combined between the three, four of which came from Hall.
“I think we were a little hesitant making the plays through the neutral zone, and we weren’t moving our feet as much as we need to,” Palmieri said. “In the second, we showed how effective we are when we’re playing fast and getting pucks up and in and competing on pucks in the offensive zone. That’s what brought a lot of scoring chances and a lot of momentum Lamar Jackson Jersey
, so it’s something we have to focus on next game.”
That top line of New Jersey’s saw a lot of Tampa Bay’s trio of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson during the first game, with just over 12 minutes of head-to-head play at even strength during the game.
But the Lightning’s second line is not just a shutdown line, it’s Tampa Bay’s second offensive line. That proved a pivotal point in the first game as the Lightning built a two-goal lead heading in the second period with goals from Palat and Johnson, the later coming with 29 seconds left in the period. Both goals came while Hall’s line was on the ice.
“As a coach and a team you are trying to put the players out there against the guys you think they can have success,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “It was big for us that they scored twice. “Clearly when you watch Taylor Hall play, he’s a dangerous player, we can’t sleep on Hischier and Palmieri either, they are a good line together. That was a big confidence builder for our guys to get two … as a whole I felt they did a really good job against them.”
Palat did put a pass right on to the stick of Hall in the second period for New Jersey’s first goal Dante Pettis 49ers Jersey
, but it was an otherwise quiet night.
“I saw they tried to put this line out when our line was there … It’s playoff hockey I guess,” said Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. “It’s part of it to match the lines, and as a player it shouldn’t bother you. You have to keep going and play the same way. When you get frustrated that’s when they win so you have to keep going.”
It’s the type of advantage the top seeded Lightning hold when it comes to overall depth that Tampa Bay’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Miller had a quiet night, but the Lightning were able to build a three-goal lead and closing things out.
“We have four well-balanced lines that have had some chemistry during the regular season and it’s carried over here to the first game,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. “We have to keep that going.”
TORONTO — Despite the distance between the teams in the standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs know better than to take the Buffalo Sabres lightly.
The teams play Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, where the Sabres beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 on March 26.
The Sabres have won two of three games against the Maple Leafs this season Lamar Jackson Youth Jersey
, including a split of two games in Buffalo.
While the Maple Leafs are preparing for the playoffs, the Sabres are looking forward to next season.
“We’re just down the road from these guys so it’s always a fun game playing against these guys,” Toronto center Mitch Marner said after the loss to the Sabres. “They play like a team that’s in the postseason. They play a tight game. They’re playing pretty well recently and every game we’ve played them they’ve played us hard. We had a lot of chances we’ve just got to make sure we hit the net a little more.”
The Sabres are coming off a 7-4 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, while the Maple Leafs lost to the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
“I’m disappointed, you always want to win each and every night,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Saturday. “I know looking at the schedule in advance we were in tough. I thought our second period hurt us. When you don’t have quite as much juice, you’re not quite as good.
“We made a couple of mistakes there not stopping in the D-zone on a couple of those plays and in the end, it ended up in our net. I didn’t think they generated a ton and I didn’t think we generated a ton. It was tight. In the end, they were better.”
The Maple Leafs lost defenseman Travis Dermott to a lower-body injury during the game against the Jets after he blocked a shot Anthony Miller Bears Jersey
, and his status for Monday had not been determined.
The Sabres, meanwhile, also lost a defenseman during the game at Nashville.
Victor Antipin suffered a concussion, a broken nose, facial lacerations and dental injuries after being checked into the boards by the Predators’ Scott Hartnell. Antipin was released from the hospital and was able to travel with the team when it left Nashville. He is out indefinitely.
The Sabres scored three goals on the ensuing five-minute major. “We were able to make them pay a little bit,” said Sabres center Sam Reinhart, who had a hat trick.
“It’s never easy to see a teammate get injured,” said Sabres center Jack Eichel, who had a career-best five assists. “It was a good job by our team responding and putting it on the scoreboard where it counts.”
The five assists matched a club record.
“The guys rallied around Victor and made a point to come out Sean Lee Jersey
, and that was the difference in the game,” Buffalo coach Phil Housley said.
The Sabres (25-41-12) have the lowest point total in the NHL with 62 and are 3-6-1 in their past 10 games. They are 14-17-7 on the road.
The Maple Leafs (47-25-7) have already set a club record for wins in a season. They are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games.
They plan to pick up their game Monday after a disappointing loss to the Jets.
“I think we can get through the neutral zone a bit better, I thought we turned some pucks over,” Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said after the game Saturday. “In the D-zone I think we can just be tighter, they got some good chances but like I said we had periods of the game where we played well.”