The Tampa Bay Lightning made quick work of the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this April, and it seems that rest made them too much for the New York Islanders to handle.
With a 4-0 victory over the Islanders on Sunday afternoon, the Lightning became the first team of the 2016 postseason to punch their ticket on to the third round, where they’ll face one of either the Washington Capitals or the Pittsburgh Penguins to compete for a second consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearance.
The game was Tampa’s to lose from the first period on, when the Atlantic Division club saw goals from Victor Hedman and Brian Boyle to put them up 2-0 in just the first 20 minutes of play.
It didn’t get much better from there for the Islanders, as a second goal from Hedman in the second period put the Lightning up 3-0 and yet another playoff tally from Nikita Kucherov (he’s up to nine in just ten games played) in the third made it impossible for the Islanders to come back. Ben Bishop posted yet another series-clinching shutout, and the Florida club will move on.
The Penguins and the Capitals will next face off on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, as the Capitals try to hang on with a 3-2 series deficit behind their divisional rivals. If that game results in a Penguins victory, then the Lightning will know their opponents for the next round, and the pair will just have to wait for the Western Conference to be wrapped up. If the Capitals hold on, though, that series will go to seven games – and Tampa Bay will get yet another lengthy rest over their opponents as they sit patiently to wait for their matchup to be finalized.