NHL Playoffs: Lightning grab 2-0 series lead over Panthers, Penguins and Golden Knights even series

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May 18, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Mason Marchment (19) hits the cross bar on a shot on Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Lightning grab a 2-0 series lead over the Panthers as they are firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the Penguins and Golden Knights received great goaltending to even their series at one game apiece.

Game 2, Lightning 3 vs Panthers 1: Lightning grab 2-0 series lead thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy

Steven Stamkos opened the scoring around the five minute mark of the first period. That was followed by Ondrej Palat’s tally just about 10 minutes later. From that point on Andrei Vasilevskiy was nearly flawless in goal stopping 32 of Florida’s 33 shots.

“[Vasilevskiy] was outstanding,” Lightning captainĀ Steven StamkosĀ said. “We know he’s the best goalie in the world; he showed it tonight. He’s our rock back there and he was outstanding tonight and a big part of our win.”

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Chris Driedger became the first goalie to make his first post-season start on his birthday. Sadly, his 26 stops were not enough to help the Panthers who were without Sam Bennett. The Panthers center was suspended for game two after boarding Blake Coleman. Game 3 is set for Thursday at 6:30 PM ET.

Game 2, Penguins 2 vs Islanders 1: Tristan Jarry shines to even series

Tristan Jarry was stellar in helping the Penguins hold on to a 2-0 lead that was gained in the first period. Goals by Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter would be just enough as Jarry made 37 saves to help Pittsburgh even the series a 1 game each.

tristan jarry
May 16, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) makes a save against New York Islanders right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) as Pens defenseman Cody Ceci (4) defends during the second period in game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

“I thought Tristan had a great game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s done that for us for most of this year. He’s been a big part of the success that this team has enjoyed to this point.”

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This was a huge win for the Penguins who did it without Evgeni Malkin. The center was able to practice but missed his second consecutive game. Pittsburgh hopes to have him back for game 3 which takes place on Thursday at 7 PM ET. Meanwhile, Mathew Barzal was held scoreless again. If the Islanders hope to take this series they will need some sort of offense out of their number one center.

Game 2, Golden Knights 3 vs Wild 1: Alex Tuch scores twice to even series

The Vegas Golden Knights are one of the more balanced teams in these playoffs. Last night it was Alex Tuch who scored twice to even the series at 1 game apiece with the Minnesota Wild. For Vegas, Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall in goal and turned aside 34 shots to lead them to victory.

golden knights playoffs
May 18, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) cheers as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) is named first star of the game after defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 in game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“Guys have been great at letting me see the puck. And when I don’t, most of the time they block it,” Fleury said. “I thought our defensemen have done a good job with that, and it certainly helps me a lot.”

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Matt Dumba opened the scoring for Minnesota and was an absolute shot blocking monster. When it was all said and done he set an NHL playoff record with 8 blocked shots. Game 3 is set for Thursday at 9:30 PM ET.

Finally, the Canucks beat the Flames 4-2. They will officially wrap up the NHL’s regular season today.