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Lightning’s Erik Cernak scores first career postseason goal in Stanley Cup final

After 46 career playoff games, a Stanley Cup and 69 shots this postseason, the Tampa Bay defenseman scored his first goal.
Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81), center, celebrates his goal along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the first period of Monday's game at Amalie Arena.
Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81), center, celebrates his goal along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the first period of Monday's game at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 29

TAMPA — Erik Cernak had a career first Monday after three years in the NHL.

The Lightning defenseman has skated in 46 playoff games, won a Stanley Cup and taken 69 shots this postseason. Now, he has his first career playoff goal.

In the Lightning’s 5-1 win in Game 1, Brayden Point intercepted a pass in the defensive zone early in the first period. He spotted Cernak along the right wall and passed him the puck.

As Cernak skated through the neutral zone, he passed to Ondrej Palat. The Lightning wing skated to the left faceoff circle and returned the puck to Cernak racing down the slot toward Montreal goaltender Carey Price.

Palat put the puck on Cernak’s stick, and Cernak redirected it into the net to open the scoring.

Cernak’s immediate reaction on the ice said it all.

“I just tried to get the puck in the zone,” Cernak said. “(Nikita Kucherov) did a great job to skate straight to the net to take the defense from me, and I just tipped the puck. It was pretty good, and I was glad we got the first goal, really good start there.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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