After having two goals disallowed – one because the puck had hit the netting, another for a hand pass off a face-off – Patrick Maroon batted home a rebound for Tampa Bay that would stand as the game-winner in the 2-0 clincher. It gave his team the 4-0 series sweep, and a trip to the Conference Final for the third straight season, fourth time in five years, and sixth time in the last decade. Not only have the Lightning been the best team in the league for a long time now, it seems Maroon can do no wrong when it comes to the postseason.
Game 4 was a tough game for the Panthers given how well they played. They largely out-skated and out-chanced Tampa Bay from the opening faceoff to the final whistle, but sometimes the other team has Andrei Vasilevskiy posting shutouts of nearly 50 saves in regulation (49, to be exact). He was probably the big difference-maker for the Lightning in this series, and play like this certainly makes the prospects of a Stanley Cup three-peat seem more likely.
Where Florida goes from here is a question for another day. Significant chunks of this team are under contract for next year, it'll just be a matter of what they do with a couple free agents. They could easily have a very good team again in 2022-23.
Though the Los Angeles Kings were bounced in seven games in the first round, it's hard not to see this season as a success for the franchise. A rebuilding/re-tooling team reaching the postseason early in the process can put a lot of pressure on players and coaches (I'm thinking of Toronto over the last six years or so). It can also give some much needed experience and that is one thing that cannot be replicated for younger players. Giving them the opportunity to see what it really takes to make it through an entire season, followed by a deep Cup run, can be a great thing.
One issue with being bounced so early is that it's tough to really parse what players got from the postseason run, at least statistically. But I was looking through some shot rate leaders so far in the 2022 NHL Playoffs and one name stood out from the guys in the top-10 by shot attempts per 60 minutes: Arthur Kaliyev.
The 20-year-old forward has had a pretty good start to his NHL career. He had just 15 goals in 81 regular season games, but he did that s