Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s 3-1 series-clinching win over Boston

From left: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), defenseman Anton Stralman (6), left wing Ondrej Palat (18), center Brayden Point (21) and left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrate Stralman's empty-net goal. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
From left: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), defenseman Anton Stralman (6), left wing Ondrej Palat (18), center Brayden Point (21) and left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrate Stralman's empty-net goal. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Published May 6 2018
Updated May 6 2018

Brayden Point was a plus-2 for the series. Big deal? Heck, yeah, because he was minus-5 after Game 1 and minus-6 early in Game 2. But Point did what he has done all season: Shut down the other team's top line. Jon Cooper said he was the best player in the series for the Lightning. Who can argue?

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The Lightning was a combined 1-6 against the Devils and Bruins during the regular season and a combined 8-2 against them in the playoffs. You can argue that proves the regular season matters little, except the Lightning used the losses to the Bruins as the bar it not only needed to reach, but clear.

I am not surprised the Lightning advanced, though I am surprised it needed only five games. I picked Tampa Bay to win in seven. But the Lightning matched the Bruins' physical game, played smart, played with confidence, received goals from players other than its star scorers. In other words, it looked like a Stanley Cup contender.

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