The Tampa Bay Lightning lost 4-3 and were officially swept in the first round of the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoffs by the Montreal Canadians. The last time the Lightning won a playoff series was in the 2010-2011 season when they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Boston Bruins.
After finishing the regular season as the second best team in the East with a record of 46-27, trailing only the Boston Bruins at 54-19, hopes were high in Tampa as the possibility of winning their first Stanley Cup since 2004 was firmly in the minds of Lightning fans. Center Tyler Johnson, who finished third on the team in goals during the season, is upset with how the team played in the playoffs but was happy with how they played in the regular season.
“A lot of stuff just didn’t go right for us but I’m proud of the group we have,” Johnson said. “We found ways to step up during the season and it was a great season, obviously a disappointing playoffs, but we battled hard and I don’t think you can say anything (negative) about the character in the locker room.”
The Lightning scored two goals in the third period to tie the game 3-3 until a last minute power-play goal by winger Max Pacioretty gave Montreal the lead for good. Losing on a last minute goal is heart breaking according to Johnson, but he is still very proud of how his team fought throughout the game.
“We’re just kind of talking about how hard we worked all season and we just didn’t want to go out the way we did,” Johnson said. “We weren’t playing our best and we just wanted to give it our all and whatever would happen would happen. I thought that last period showed a lot of character from our guys and I’m proud of everybody.”
Montreal moves on to the Eastern Conference semifinals as they will await the winner of the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings.
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