NHL playoffs: 3 stories from Wednesday night

The first round of the NHL playoffs drew to a close with the Tampa Bay Lightning finishing off the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7. The Lightning now move on to face the Montreal Canadiens.

Here are three stories from Wednesday night’s deciding game.

Coburn strikes at right time for Lightning

Tampa Bay defenceman Braydon Coburn scored a rare, but timely goal in the Lightning’s 2-0 series-clinching victory over the Red Wings. 

Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek appeared to be screened when Coburn fired a slapshot from the top of the circle just under four minutes into the third period.

Coburn had scored only one goal during the regular season and it wasn’t even as a member of the Lightning. 

The Shaunavon, Sask., native tallied for the Philadelphia Flyers before being acquired by the Lightning at the trade deadline.

Coburn missed the final 14 games of the regular season with a lower-body injury and actually only suited up for Tampa four times before the playoffs. 

But in some ways, Coburn was due for a goal. He registered a team-high five shots in Game 5 and led all Lightning defenceman with seven shots in the first game of the series with Detroit. 

Anton Stralman’s empty-netter at the 18:42 mark gave the Lightning all the breathing room they needed. 

A first for Ben Bishop

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop did not have any NHL playoff experience heading into this series, but now has seven games to add to his resume. 

Game 7 will be particularly memorable for Bishop as he earned his first playoff shutout with a 31-save performance and added an assist on the empty-netter.

Bishop didn’t face too many tough tests from Detroit in this game. The biggest threat to his shutout was of his own doing when he wandered a bit too far from the net to play the puck.  

However, he made up for it on the Red Wings’ best chance midway through the final frame.

Numbers favour Tampa?

The Lightning now advance to face the Montreal Canadiens, a team they absolutely owned in the regular season by winning all five meetings.

This matchup may be music to the ears of Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, who didn’t score any goals in the series with Detroit, but notched five goals and two assists against the Canadiens in the regular season.

Of course, there is one rather key detail the Canadiens have working in their favour. They swept the Lightning in the first round last season along the way to reaching the conference final. 

The series gets underway on Friday in Montreal at 7 p.m. ET. The entire series will be televised on CBC and streamed live on CBCSports.ca.

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/nhl-playoffs-3-stories-from-wednesday-night-1.3054822

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