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Tampa Bay Lightning shut out New York Islanders to win series

By
The Sports Xchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop continues to save his best for the biggest games. And on Sunday, Bishop's best ended the New York Islanders' season.

Bishop had 28 saves and recorded his fifth career shutout in the Stanley Cup playoffs as the Lightning earned a 4-0 win against the Islanders in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series on Sunday.

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The Lightning won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the winner of the second-round series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I think we learned last year we had a couple series where we had chances to close them out at home and we kind of let them slip," Bishop said. "We really wanted to take pride in closing teams out this year."

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Defenseman Victor Hedman scored twice while Nikita Kucherov had his ninth goal of the postseason as the Lightning advance to the conference finals for the second consecutive year.

"This is a great accomplishment for this team," Hedman said. "I don't think too many people picked us to get this far, especially considering the injuries."

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Hedman gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 13:49 of the first period. He took control of a loose puck at the high slot and beat Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss on the near post.

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Lightning center Brian Boyle scored his third goal of the postseason at 18:41 in the first period to make the score 2-0.

Defenseman Matt Carle went behind the net and passed the puck to Boyle in the slot, and Boyle snapped a shot past Greiss above his shoulder.

"Start to finish, we played really well," Boyle said. "We were hard on pucks, we made sure we got the puck in deep, we didn't turn it over in the neutral zone and give them many opportunities. We played a great game. Obviously, one we needed to, and again Bishop was there for us."

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Hedman's second goal came on a Lightning power play at 4:22 in the second period. Jonathan Drouin made a backhand pass that banked off the boards, and Hedman scored on a one-timer from the right circle to make the score 3-0.

"(The Lightning) took advantage of their opportunities," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "You know we came in here (Sunday), I thought the game plan was good. We surrendered 18 shots even strength, and, I mean, if you asked me that going in we would take it. We gave up seven on our power play, but you know we just couldn't find a way here these last few games to score some goals. At the end of the day, like I said, you have to get more than one, and we didn't get any (Sunday)."

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Kucherov added a goal at 4:40 in the third period on a breakaway to give the Lightning a 4-0 lead.

Greiss made 21 saves for the Islanders.

"It is definitely going to sting for a while," Greiss said. "It was a tough loss (Sunday) and a tough loss in the series. I think it was a very tight series for a 4-1 series. We could have easily won some games at home and came (to Tampa Bay) and have done different kind of things. It will sting for a long time, but you have to get over it."

The Islanders were held to just one goal in the final two games of the series. Center John Tavares was held without a point in the final four games.

"We had our best players play like our best players," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We also got a lot of contributions throughout the lineup and everyone just played well (Sunday). I thought we played a very good game against a very good team."

NOTES: When asked about his future with the team as he heads into free agency, Islanders RW Kyle Okposo said he was unsure. "I am just thinking about this right now," Okposo said. "Maybe in a couple of days we'll start thinking about (free agency)." ... The Islanders held an optional practice Saturday at the request of C John Tavares. "We didn't want to be sitting around too much when we got in," Tavares said. "It was obviously an optional skate today, but guys wanted to get their feet moving." ... Lightning D Anton Stralman (leg fracture), C Steven Stamkos (blood clot surgery) and RW J.T. Brown (upper body) remain unavailable. Coach Jon Cooper said he had expected Stralman to return by now. "I was hoping (he would be back) when this series was starting," Cooper said. "I was hoping (Game 4) or the next one he'd come back." ... Islanders RW Kyle Okposo and C Cal Clutterbuck missed optional practice Saturday for body maintenance reasons.

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