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game recap

Lightning defeat Devils, advance to second round

Kucherov scores fifth goal of series; Tampa Bay will face Bruins or Maple Leafs next

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round with a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the first round at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Tampa Bay will play the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs next. The Bruins lead the series 3-2.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves, and Mikhail Sergachev, Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan scored for the Lightning.

 

[WATCH: All Devils vs. Lightning highlights | Complete Lightning vs. Devils series coverage]

 

"We played well and we did a good job," Vasilevskiy said. "They are a good team, but we were a little better. The guys played well. We played well all series long, but now it's in the past and we have to move on."

Patrick Maroon scored, and Cory Schneider made 36 saves for the Devils.

"We learned a lot as a group, and it's not going to be the same group as next year, but that's the way it works," Devils captain Andy Greene said. "Whoever is back, we have to make sure we learn from this, we grow from it, and now it's how do we take the next step."

Sergachev gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 8:07 of the first period with a wrist shot through traffic that beat Schneider high on the glove side. It was his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal.

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Sergachev nets his first playoff goal

"I saw nobody coming out to block it and a lot of traffic in the lane, so I just shot it there," Sergachev said. "It was a great [pass] by [Anthony] Cirelli."

Kucherov made it 2-0 at 12:27 of the third period with a shot from the point to the glove side with J.T. Miller providing the screen. Kucherov had 10 points (five goals, five assists) to set a Lightning record for most points in a playoff series.

"We talked about getting bodies in front of the net, and guys did a good job," Kucherov said. "[Steven] Stamkos and Miller went in front, and I don't think [Schneider] saw it."

Video: #ThirstForTheCup: Lightning advance to Second Round

Kucherov's game-winning goal came after the Devils killed five consecutive power plays against the Lightning.

"I felt good about my game, about as good as I've felt in a long time, but we still lost and were eliminated," said Schneider, who stopped all 18 shots he faced in the second period. "I think at the end of the day, you lose and it doesn't feel very well. I would have rather have won 5-4 then lose like we did tonight."

Maroon made it 2-1 with three minutes remaining in the third period when he tipped a Kyle Palmieri shot.

"[The Lightning] are tough to play against structurally and defensively," Devils center Nico Hischier said. "They didn't give us a lot of room, and they have great skill up front. We knew it would be hard series, and they played well."

Callahan scored an empty-net goal with two seconds remaining to make it 3-1. He returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Devils, Lightning exchange handshakes

"We wanted to make sure we didn't go back [to New Jersey]," Callahan said. "I love the way we did it. Defensively, we were sound. We didn't get frustrated not scoring on some of those power plays. But we stuck with the game plan and ended up getting another one."

Vasilevskiy mad the save on Palmieri on a breakaway during a power play at 10:31 of the third period and stoppedJesper Bratt on a breakaway at 8:38 to keep Tampa Bay ahead 1-0.

"He has got a great mindset, strong head, and he's very competitive," Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said of Vasilevskiy. "And you see it in his game. In high-pressure games, he shuts it down. We did a good job in front of him, but when he needs to step up, he does it."

 

Goal of the game

Kucherov's goal at 12:27 of the third period

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Kucherov beats Schneider from the point

 

Save of the game

Vasilevskiy stopping Bratt at 8:38 of the third period.

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Vasilevskiy denies Bratt in close

 

Highlight of the game

Sergachev's goal at 8:07 of the first period.

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Sergachev nets his first playoff goal

 

They said it

"I think Tampa is a very good team. I thought they played well, and I think the difference in the series [is] we weren't able to score as much as we needed to as the series had gone on. I think that's something that even when you look at a game like tonight, it's 1-0 and [we] don't score. Our 5-on-5 offensive production wasn't where it needed to be." -- Devils coach John Hynes

 

"It's a seven-game series, and the cliche is the fourth one is always the toughest one to win. The fourth one is the most magnified, I guess, but you still have to win three games to get there." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

 

Need to know

Sergachev (19 years, 300 days) is the youngest player in Lightning history to score a goal in the playoffs. ... Devils forward Taylor Hall was held without a point for the second time in the series. He had three shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots. ...Cirelli's assist on Sergachev's goal was his first point of the playoffs. ... The Lightning went 33-for-55 (60 percent) on face-offs. ... Lightning forward Tyler Johnson previously held their record for most points in a playoff series when he had nine against the New York Rangers in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final.

 

What's next

Devils: Season over

Lightning: Game 1 of Eastern Conference Second Round against Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs, TBD

Video: Lightning win Game 5, advance to second round

***

 

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