Weekly Stanley Cup playoff notebook:
Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs. Washington Capitals (1)
Series: Lightning lead 3-2
After losing the first two games, Tampa Bay has rallied back to take a 3-2 series lead and has a chance to close out the series tonight in Washington. The trio of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point has proven to be a handful for Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, who have combined for eight goals and nine assists in the series so far. Star centre Nicklas Backstrom is back from injury but has yet to make a difference in the series.
Next Game: Tonight, 5 p.m. in Washington.
Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (2)
Series: Golden Knights win series 4-2
No words can describe the success Vegas is having in their inaugural season. Their first line of William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault combined for seven goals and eight assist in the series, providing the majority of the firepower for the Golden Knights. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is playing arguably his best playoff hockey in his career and is a firm candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy. The Jets couldn’t find any secondary scoring outside of Mark Scheifele, who broke the NHL record for most away goals in the playoffs with 11.
Next Game: TBA
B.C.-born player update:
This week’s top British Columbian honours go to Langley’s Shea Theodore. Theodore is leading all Vegas defencemen in points with seven in 15 games. He had an assist in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals as Vegas won 3-1.
Conn Smythe Trophy watch:
It is a toss up between Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov in terms of who deserves the Conn Smythe for Tampa Bay. Stamkos is hungry for his first Stanley Cup and finally has a roster that can back up the desire. Stamkos has six points in the Eastern Conference finals, to go along with 16 points in 15 games. If Stamkos can produce tonight and take Tampa Bay into the finals, he definitely deserves a shot at the Conn Smythe.
This might come as a no-brainer for most, as Fleury is playing his best playoff hockey in his career right now. Through 15 games, Fleury is 12-3 with a 1.68 goals against average as well as a .947 save percentage. Fleury is the heart and soul of the Vegas Golden Knights and is the leading candidate to raise the Conn Smythe.
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