The Atlantic Division meets the Metro Division this evening and we will see the Tampa Bay Lightning grapple with the New Jersey Devils as the scene shifts to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for game three of this best-of-seven series. The Lightning now has a 2-0 series lead after winning game two by a score of 5-3. Goalie Probables: Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod for the Lightning and he will be opposed by Keith Kinkaid or Cory Schneider.
Killorn Leads Lightning To Game Two Win
The Tampa Bay Lightning did not really play well down the stretch of the regular season, but they have in this series so far as they have won the first two games and have outscored the Devils by a combined 10-5 in the process. This offense has been the best in the league all year and it has really shown up in this series so far and they have now averaged 4.42 gpg over their last seven games after scoring a total of four goals in their previous three games. Alex Killorn notched 15 goals during the regular season and he led them in the game-two win with two goals to give him three for the series so far. Also scoring in the win was 21-7 in their last 28 home games, which was his 2nd of the series and 23rd of the year, Nikita Kucherov, which was his 2nd of the series and 41st of the year and Brayden Point, which was his 33rd. The Lightning has gone 25-16 on the road and they have averaged 3.54 gpg and have allowed 2.78 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the game-two win was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 41 of the 44 shots that he faced to improve to 6-5 with a 2.79 GAA and a .922 save percentage in the playoffs in his career. Vasilevskiy was 44-20 with a 2.62 GAA and a .920 save percentage during the regular season, including 18-11 with a 2.34 GAA and a .931 save percentage out on the road. During the regular season, in his career, he has gone 35-35 with a 2.47 GAA in his home games and 25-18 with a 2.69 GAA against the Metro Division, while against the Devils he has gone 1-3 with a 2.85 GAA.
Tampa Bay ranked 1st in the league in scoring at 3.54 gpg on the year, while also ranking 12th in shots taken (32.7 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 23.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were above average this year as they ranked 13th in goals allowed, giving up 2.85 gpg, while also ranking 23rd in shots allowed (32.7 spg) and 28th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 24.0% of their chances.
Devils Look To Get Back On Track At Home
The New Jersey Devils came into the playoffs with some momentum as tehy had won seven of their final nine games of the regular season, but after falling in game two of this series, they are now down 2-0 to the top seed in the East. The Devils now have to try and get back on track here at home, where they have played well this year. They must also figure out who will be in goal. Keith Kinkaid was far better than Cory Schneider this year, especially down the stretch and that gave him the starting job in this series, but the Devils may be rethinking their decision after he has allowed nine goals through the first two game. It is unclear who will start this one. Scoring in the game-two loss was Nico Hischier, which was his 21st of the year, Sami Vatanen, which was his 5th and Blake Coleman, which was his 14th. The Devils have gone 23-18 here at home for the year and they have averaged 2.93 gpg and have allowed 2.76 gpg in those games.
Taking the loss in game two was Keith Kinkaid, who allowed five goals on 15 shot attempts before being taken out for Cory Schneider, who stopped all 10 shots he faced the rest of the way. Kinkaid was 26-13 with a 2.77 GAA and .913 save percentage during the regular season, including 12-4 with a 2.49 GAA and a .911 save percentage here at home. In his career (Regular season), he has gone 24-18 with a 2.48 GAA in his home games and 14-10 with a 2.37 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Lightning he has gone 2-2 with a 2.43 GAA. We may see Cory Schneider get the start in this game and he was 17-22 with a 2.93 GAA and a .907 save percentage on the year, including 11-11 with a 2.70 GAA and a .911 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 90-84 with a 2.19 GAA in his home games and 34-51 with a 2.35 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Lightning he has gone 4-5 with a 3.07 GAA. He is 1-4 with a 2.46 GAA and a .925 save percentage in the playoffs in his career.
New Jersey was very average during the regular season on offense as they ranked 15th in the league in scoring at 2.96 gpg, while also ranking 18th in shots taken (31.7 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 21.4% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were a bit below average this year as they ranked 17th in goals allowed, giving up 2.93 gpg, while also ranking 16th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.2% of their chances.
Tampa Bay is:
- The Over is 15-4-2 in their last 21 road games
- The Over is 20-7-2 in their last 29 vs. the Eastern Conference
New Jersey is:
- The Over is 6-1 in their last seven games playing on one days rest
- The Over is 7-2-2 in their last 11 home games following a road trip of seven or more days
The Devils have not looked that great in this series, especially in the crease and that may have sparked controversy between Keith Kinkaid and Cory Schneider. Kinkaid has allowed nine goals through the first two games, while Schneider has allowed 3.63 gpg over his last eight starts, plus he has a 3.07 GAA in his career against the Lightning. That sets up well for Tampa Bay to get some goals in this one, especially since they have averaged 4.42 gpg over their last seven games. The Devils have been solid on offense of late as they have averaged 3.00 gpg over their last 10 games, while the Lightning has allowed 3.00 gpg over their last 10. I will look for this game to go Over the total and the clincher is the fact that the Over is 4-1-1 the last six games in this series.