Home Team in Caps
TAMPA BAY 4, Montreal 1 – TBL wins series 4-2
KUCHEROV POWERS LIGHTNING TO CONFERENCE FINALS
Nikita Kucherov (2-1—3) had three points to propel the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Montreal Canadiens and into the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in franchise history and the first since 2011.
* Kucherov opened the scoring, added an empty-netter and had an assist for his second three-point game and second multiple-goal game of the postseason.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kucherov became the second player in franchise history to have three points in a series-clinching victory. He joined Fredrik Modin, who posted 0-3—3 on April 16, 2004, in Game 5 of the EQF vs. the New York Islanders (3-2 OT W).
* Elias notes that Kucherov also became the third player in franchise history to score two goals in a series-clinching victory. Sean Bergenheim scored twice on May 4, 2011, in Game 4 of the ESF vs. the Washington Capitals (5-3 W) and Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice on June 7, 2004, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the Calgary Flames (2-1 W).
* All six of Kucherov's goals this postseason were scored in the second round vs. Montreal, matching a Lightning single-series franchise record. Teammate Tyler Johnson scored six goals in the first round vs. the Detroit Red Wings and Fedotenko scored six goals in the 2004 ECF vs. the Philadelphia Flyers.
* Elias notes that the Lightning were the first team to have a player score six or more goals in a playoff series and have another player score six or more goals in the next series since Pittsburgh did so during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sidney Crosby scored eight goals in the ESF vs. Washington (8-5—13) and Evgeni Malkin scored six goals in the ECF vs. the Carolina Hurricanes (6-3—9).
* Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (1-0—1) has scored in back-to-back playoff games for the first time in his career. He has 3-7—10 in this year's playoffs, including 3-4—7 during a playoff career-high five-game point streak.
* Stamkos' goal was his second career game-winning goal in the postseason and his first career series-clinching goal.
* Ben Bishop made 18 saves to improve to 8-5 in the 2015 playoffs with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Bishop had a 9-2-0 record vs. Montreal in 2014-15, including both the regular season and playoffs.
* Ondrej Palat (1-1—2) scored a power-play goal and added an assist to record his third multiple-point game of the 2015 playoffs.
* Anton Stralman (0-1—1) extended his playoff point streak to three games (0-3—3).
* Tampa Bay improved to 2-1 in three playoff series against Montreal.
* The Lightning will face either the Rangers or Capitals in the Eastern Conference Final. They have played Washington twice in the postseason, winning both series, most recently in the 2011 ESF (4-0) . They have never faced New York in the playoffs.
* ICYMI: Click here to watch the Lightning and the Canadiens shake hands.
2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS BRACKET CHALLENGE
Among the more than 800,000 entries for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung, 33.5% picked the Lightning to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Only 3,663 brackets (0.44%) have correctly selected the winner of all 11 series that have been completed thus far in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Marchessault made his postseason debut. ... Montreal forward Max Pacioretty (1-0—1) had 5-2—7 in 11 GP this postseason. ... Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves. He finished the playoffs with a 6-6 record, a 2.23 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. ... The NHL signed a corporate partnership with Kellogg's in Canada.