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3/24/2018 - Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils

Keith_Kinkaid_-_New_Jersey_Devils.jpg

Don't forget to check out this article and the rest of the publications from Below the Goal Line!

 

NHL Game Updates:

 

Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche, With a win, the Golden Knights would capture a playoff berth. It was Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog who would deny them of that with his lone shootout goal. In a potential first round playoff match-up, Colorado was victorious in this one 2-1 (SO).

 

Calgary Flames @ San Jose Sharks, The ice-cold Calgary Flames lose 5-1 to the red-hot San Jose Sharks. Evander Kane has 12 points in 12 games since joining the Sharks, who have now won seven in a row.

 

Detroit Red Wings @ Toronto Maple Leafs, If you didn't see the magic of William Nylander and Auston Matthews, you should here. It was Nazem Kadri who scored at 12:34 of the third to provide the difference in a 4-3 win for the Leafs.

 

Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens, Caps center Nicklas Backstrom had four assists to help Washington to a 6-2 lead early in the third period. The Habs would get two back, but could not complete the comeback. Washington wins 6-4.

 

Carolina Hurricanes @ Ottawa Senators, The problem for the 'Canes is the teams in front of them keep winning. Sitting nine points out of a playoff spot, they need to almost win out, and get a lot of help against the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers. They took care of the first part of that formula by winning 5-2 tonight.

 

Arizona Coyotes @ Florida Panthers, Devils fans were excited when the Coyotes jumped out to the 2-0 lead through two periods. Florida would roar back with four in the third to win 4-2. Florida still sits three points back of New Jersey (see below), but still hold two games in hand over the Devils.

 

Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Islanders, The Islanders are officially eliminated from the playoff race thanks to a 3-1 loss to Chicago. All eyes turn to the John Tavares sweepstakes now.

 

Buffalo Sabres @ New York Rangers, The Rangers win a game between two non-playoff teams 5-1.

 

St. Louis Blues @ Columbus Blue Jackets, The Blues continue to push for the playoffs after playing some poor hockey near the trade deadline. I wrote the Blues off earlier, but Jake Allen has been solid since then, winning 2-1 again tonight. The Blues jump back into the final Wild Card spot in the West.

 

Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild, The flat Predators have already secured a playoff spot. The Wild inch closer to doing the same with the 4-1 win.

 

Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid scored twice to improve to 96 points this season, taking over the scoring lead from Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning. His second of the game, the 38th of his campaign, pushed the Oilers over the Kings, who fell out of a Wild Card spot with the loss.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils:

 

Assuming the New Jersey Devils get a little bit of help keeping the Florida Panthers down, this was a possible first-round playoff preview against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils sit in the final Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference, while the Lightning look like the top team in the East.

 

Unfortunately for the Devils, they will need a little bit of help to stave off the Panthers, who sit three points behind for their playoff spot. Florida also has two games in hand over the Devils, so without any help, the Panthers could pass the Devils by simply winning those two extra games left to play.

 

All the Devils can do is gather points for themselves. Lately, it has been goalie Keith Kinkaid that has been picking up the wins for New Jersey. He was excellent again in this one, stopping 35 of 36 shots.

 

Kinkaid kept the Lightning off the board through the first two periods, but goals by rookie Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri propelled Kinkaid and the Devils to the 2-1 win.

 

The Lightning, who have already clinched a playoff spot, played a decent game, but were unable to solve Kinkaid until it was too late. Tampa Bay has been criticized for their lack-luster play lately, were strong in this one.

 

Devils rookie Nico Hischier gives New Jersey the lead in the first when he taps in a rebound of a shot from the point. Kyle Palmieri makes it 2-0 at 10:59 of the second when skates into the slot and fires a puck past the Lightning goaltender.

 

Andrei Vasilevskiy is that Tampa Bay goaltender. He has had a strong year, leading the NHL in wins with 42. Vasilevskiy was strong in this game, turning aside 31 and keeping the Lightning in the game.

 

It was Tampa's high-flying offense that failed to show up in this one. Although they had a lot of chances and shots, the Lightning could only muster one goal, an Ondrej Palat tally in the third period. 

The Devils, who have now won two in a row, pick up the two points from the visiting Lightning in this one. They are now just two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the first Wild Card spot.

 

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