The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the semifinals after overcoming the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The defending Cup champs won Game Five by a final score of 2-0 on Tuesday. They are the second team to advance to the third round, following the Montreal Canadiens’ sweep of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Hurricanes were the top seed in the Central Division, while the Lightning were the third seed.
Carolina was eliminated in the first round last season after making it to the conference final in 2019.
Tampa’s Brayden Point opened the scoring in the second period in Game Five, netting his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Ross Colton scored to double up the Lightning lead in the third period and that was all it took.
The Hurricanes outshot Tampa Bay 29-25, but goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was more than equal to the task. It was his second shutout of this year’s playoffs. He shut out the Florida Panthers in Game Six of their first round battle, also clinching the series.
Alex Nedeljkovic held his own in the Carolina crease but ultimately came up short, making 23 saves in the losing effort.
The Hurricanes had 16,000 appreciative fans in attendance, but couldn’t pull off a home win in this series against Tampa. They did get a boost from the returns of Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, however.
But getting past Vasilevskiy was the theme of the night – and the series. The Tampa netminder was lethal in Raleigh, allowing just two goals on 70 shots in the first two games of the series and stopping everything Tuesday.
This marks the fifth time in the last seven seasons the Lightning have made it to the third round of the playoffs.
The Lightning will face either the Boston Bruins or New York Islanders in the next round. The Islanders lead 3-2 and can seal the deal with a win on Wednesday.