Tampa Bay Lightning to kick off Eastern Conference Final on Friday

(Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Eastern Conference Final is about to kick into gear and the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans now know the path they must take to advance to the next phase of their journey.

The Tampa Bay Lightning is about to make their third appearance in the Eastern Conference Final in the last four years. After defeating the Boston Bruins 4-2 in Game 5 and advancing to the next round, the question became who the Bolts would face in the Conference Final.

After the Washington Capitals delivered an overtime defeat to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the Lightning received the answer to this burning question. Now, the biggest question in the Bolts Nation became when the next round would officially kick off.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official! The Tampa Bay Lightning will kick off the Eastern Conference Final on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the Amalie Arena right here in the heart of beautiful Downtown Tampa. The action will continue just two days later when the Capitals return for Game 2 on Sunday, May 13.

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There is no denying this is going to be an exciting series. Two of the biggest powerhouses in the National Hockey League right now are about to go head-to-head in the center of the ice.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov held a strong lead in the NHL in points for a majority of the regular season, but it was Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin who held a stranglehold on the league lead in goals.

Before the action kicks into overdrive, let’s take a closer look at the road ahead for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they prepare to take on the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Final.

For those of who in the Bolts Nation residing outside the Sunshine State, all times listed below are in Eastern Time.

Game 1: Friday, May 11, 2018 – Capitals @ Lightning Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Game 2: Sunday, May 13, 2018 – Capitals @ Lightning Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Game 3: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 – Lightning @ Capitals Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Game 4: Thursday, May 17, 2018 – Lightning @ Capitals Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Game 5: Saturday, May 19, 2018 – Capitals @ Lightning Puck Drop: 7:15 p.m.

Game 6: Monday, May 21, 2018 – Lightning @ Capitals Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Game 7: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – Capitals @ Lightning Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.

Of course, Games 5, 6, and 7 are on an as-needed basis.

The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly doesn’t have an easy path in front of them. The Washington Capitals have a huge monkey to get off their backs. The Caps never seem to have any luck in the postseason. The last time they advanced to the Conference Finals was in the 1997-98 season.

They would move on to the Stanley Cup Final only to fall short of achieving their goal as they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Definitely not the storybook ending the Capitals were looking for in this situation.

One thing the Lightning simply cannot afford to do is underestimate the Capitals. Underestimating other teams has gotten the Lightning in trouble way more times than any fan would like to admit this season. The Bolts are going to have to bring their ‘A’ game each and every night if they want to defeat the Capitals.

Next: Lightning Fans React To Advancing To Eastern Conference Final

It has been a long and winding road for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, but if there is anything the Lightning has proven this season it’s their desire to win and passion for the game is second-to-none. This is going to be an exciting series and we, for one, can’t wait for the action to get started.