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Tampa Bay hasn’t run away with its second round series against Carolina. The Hurricanes’ defense hasn’t been bad and Carolina has outshot Tampa Bay in each of the first two games. In fact, the Hurricanes had a 32-15 SOG edge last night. Despite that, for the second straight game, the Lightning earned a narrow win against the Hurricanes.

Carolina can take some solace in the fact that they aren’t being overwhelmed, but morale victories are only good for so long. Now down 2-0 in the series, Carolina desperately needs a win when the series resumes on Thursday. That will be especially tough given that the first two games were in Carolina, so the series is headed to Tampa Bay now.

That said, the Hurricanes don’t have to look far back for inspiration when it comes to being behind 2-0. Back in 2019, the Hurricanes were down 2-0 in their first round series against Washington, but they battled back to win the series in seven games and make it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final.

While there’s been some turnover over the last two years in Carolina, Rod Brind’Amour is still the head coach and much of the same core remains. Perhaps that series will make it easier for them to believe in themselves as they face another mountain to climb.

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TAMPA BAY 2 CAROLINA 1 (Lightning lead series 2-0)

Andrei Vasilevskiy was key to the Lightning’s win, stopping 31 of 32 shots. He has a 6-2 record, 2.23 GAA, and .939 save percentage in eight playoff starts.

The game was tied until Alex Killorn scored at 7:09 of the second period. It was his fifth goal and ninth point in eight postseason games.

Anthony Cirelli netted the game-winning goal. He has three markers and five points in eight playoff games.

Andrei Svechnikov scored at 18:30 of the third period to cut into the Lightning’s lead, but the Hurricanes couldn’t complete the comeback. He’s up to two goals and five points in eight postseason contests.

Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 13 of 15 shots last night. He has a 4-4 record, 2.18 GAA, and .920 save percentage in eight starts in the 2021 playoffs.

In addition to losing the game, Carolina also lost Vincent Trocheck to an undisclosed injury. After the game, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said “it doesn’t look good.”