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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 7 loss

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 4-0 loss to the Capitals in Game 7

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

This one's going to sting for quite some time.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 6 loss

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 3-0 loss in Game 6

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Every Eastern Conference Final the Tampa Bay Lightning have played coming into this season has gone to seven games.

So it should come as no surprise the Lightning will play another Game 7 on Wednesday with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

The Washington Capitals played like a team one loss from elimination in Game 6 Monday in front of their home crowd at Capital One Arena. And the Caps responded with arguably their best performance of the Conference Final series, shutting out the Bolts 3-0 in Game 6 and forcing a do-or-die Game 7 for both teams back in Tampa Wednesday.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from snatching the series lead

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 3-2 in Game 5

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

For the first time in the Eastern Conference Final, the home team earned a victory.

And as a result, the Tampa Bay Lightning have their first lead in the series and are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in franchise history.

The Lightning benefitted from a pair of quick goals to begin the first and second periods and build a 3-0 lead, then held on for a 3-2 victory behind another strong performance by netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 28-of-30 pucks and has allowed just two goals in each of his last three starts.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from leveling the serires 2-2

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 4-2 win over the Caps in Game 4

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Following his team's 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals to head back to Tampa with the Eastern Conference Final tied 2-2, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said his team didn't have "it's A game" in Game 4.

Fortunately for the Lightning, they had their A goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from getting back in the series

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 4-2 win in Game 3

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

After getting pushed around in their own building during the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning went to work during the off day of travel breaking down the series on video, making adjustments to counter what Washington was presenting them and then implementing those changes during morning skate prior to Game 3 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Whatever the Lightning saw on film, they were able to expose in a 4-2 Game 3 victory that puts them right back in the Conference Final series versus the Capitals.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a loss in Game 2

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 6-2 loss to the Capitals

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning have some serious soul searching to do.

The Lightning dropped Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final Sunday Night, Washington blitzing the Bolts 6-2 to take both games at AMALIE Arena.

The series shifts to Washington D.C. for Games 3 and 4. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals/Semis (since 1974-75) own a 95.1 percent win percentage.

Clearly, things look bleak for the Bolts.

But there is a glimmer of hope.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 1 loss to Washington

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 4-2 loss to Washington

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Tampa Bay's start to the Eastern Conference Final in Game 1 versus the Washington Capitals Friday night went about as poorly as one could expect.

"Everything we did tonight, we've got to do the exact opposite (in Game 2) on Sunday," Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi summed up succinctly.

Washington dominated the Lightning in the opening game of the Conference Final round, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and never wavering in the third period despite two goals from the Bolts that made the 4-2 final score look closer than it actually was.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 3-1 series clinching win over Boston

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the past four seasons.

And they're doing so after winning four-straight games against a Boston team many people questioned if the Lightning would ever beat after three disastrous results the first three times they played in the regular season.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from an overtime win in Boston

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 4-3 win in overtime in Game 4

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from returning to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the last four seasons.

The Lightning traveled to Boston with the mission of trying to win at least one game at TD Garden to come back to Tampa with the series tied and home ice re-established.

But hey, why not take both?

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a road win in Boston

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts' 4-1 win over the Bruins in Game 2

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Recap: TBL 4, BOS 1

Palat, Lightning take series lead with win in Game 3

Ondrej Palat scored two early goals in the 1st, and the Lightning went on to beat the Bruins, 4-1, in Game 3 to grab a 2-1 series lead

  • 04:02 •

Tampa Bay flew to Boston hoping to come away with a win to tilt home-ice advantage in its Second Round playoff series back in its favor.

The Lightning completed their mission in Game 3 after playing perhaps their best game of the 2018 Playoffs, the Bolts rolling to a two-goal lead thanks to a pair of Ondrej Palat markers just 3:17 into the game and keeping their foot on the gas to see a 4-1 victory through to the finish line.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from evening the series

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 4-2 win in Game 2

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

In the buildup to Game 2 of Tampa Bay's Second Round playoff series against Boston, the Lightning talked about how they needed to increase their intensity level.

In Game 1, the Bruins, coming off a do-or-die Game 7 victory three nights earlier over Toronto, were much more engaged than a Tampa Bay team that had to sit and wait six days for their next playoff round.

"We'll make sure we don't make that mistake again," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said after Sunday's practice.

His team heard the message loud and clear.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 1 loss to Boston

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 6-2 loss to the Bruins

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The final score looked a lot worse than game play warranted.

But in the end, the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves trailing in a series for the first time in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from closing out the Devils

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 3-1 win in Game 5

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

In the lead up to Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal versus the Devils, the Lightning were adamant they didn't want to go back to New Jersey.

Win Game 5 and rest was the thinking.

The Lightning can sit back, kick their feet up and watch the other NHL playoff teams beat up on each other for a few days now.

Tampa Bay eliminated the Devils following a 3-1 victory in Game 5 Saturday at AMALIE Arena, the Lightning winning the series four-games-to-one.

The Bolts did it with defense, timely goals and shut down goaltending from Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tampa Bay awaits the winner of the Boston-Toronto series in the next round. The Bruins have a chance to clinch their series tonight in a home Game 5 too.

But the key is the Lightning can watch that outcome from the comfort of their homes.

And not while sitting on a plane bound for New Jersey for at least one more game with the Devils.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 4 win in New Jersey

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 3-1 win in New Jersey

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

As the Tampa Bay Lightning filed into their locker room following a 3-1 victory in Game 4 Wednesday of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series versus the Devils, Takin' Care of Business blared from the locker room speakers.

Certainly, the Bolts took care of business in New Jersey in Game 4.

And they took control of the series.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a loss in New Jersey

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Lightning's 5-2 loss to the Devils in Game 3

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning played a pretty solid road game through two-plus periods of Game 3 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup versus the New Jersey Devils.

Numerous uncharacteristic and untimely penalties in the third period, however, proved to be too much for the Bolts to overcome.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from going up 2-0 over the Devils

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 5-3 win over New Jersey in Game 2

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning have never lost a playoff series after winning the opening two games, going 4-for-4.

They'll hope that stat holds up in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a Game 1 victory

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 5-2 win over New Jersey

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

For a couple of months now, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been looking forward to playoff hockey.

Finally, Thursday, they got to experience playoff hockey once again.

Tampa Bay put together a solid, 60-minute performance to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup. The Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 advantage, were tested when the Devils cut the lead to 3-2 but finished strong to close out the all-important series opener.

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