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Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist, and the Lightning scored three power-play goals in a 4-1 victory over the Panthers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series Tuesday at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise.
Tampa Bay will take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 Thursday in Sunrise.
Kucherov set up a Corey Perry power-play goal late in the second period to tie the game at 1 and then scored one of his own to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
Less than two minutes later, Ross Colton netted the Lightning’s third goal with the man-advantage to make it 4-1.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put back a rebound of a Perry shot early in the third period to give Tampa Bay its first lead at 2-1.
Here’s how it happened:
The Lightning will open the period with 59 seconds of power-play time remaining
Kucherov shot from the right circle saved by Bobrovsky
Panthers kill the Montour penalty; Lightning had five shots on the power play
Quick shot from Verhaeghe stopped by Vasilevskiy
Bobrovsky saves Killorn shot from the slot after a Florida turnover
Bobrovsky stops Colton shot after cross-ice pass into slot from Hagel
LIGHTNING GOAL! Bellemare whips rebound of Perry shot up over Bobrovsky from low in the left circle. Lightning 2, Panthers 1.
Gudas blocks a Palat shot
Bobrovsky deflects Paul shot from the right point into the corner
Perry drives to the net, but Bobrovsky covers the puck.
McDonagh penalized for interfering with Noel Acciari with 8:44 left
Huberdeau wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Duclair goal on the power play waved off after Lightning challenged it for a missed game stoppage event after the puck hit the back netting, making it out of play. 8:09.
Bennett shot off the rush blocked by Sergachev
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Lightning kill the McDonagh penalty
Killorn blocks a shot and then draws a roughing penalty against Forsbling with 4:51 to play
Killorn has to leave for the locker room under the concussion protocol since Forsling hit him in the face
Killorn is back on the Lightning bench
LIGHTNING GOAL! Kucherov scores from the right circle with a wrist on the power play. Cirelli was setting a screen in front. Panthers challenge for goaltender interference, as Cirelli appeared to make contact with Bobrovsky’s head while in the blue paint, but the goal stands. Lightning 3, Panthers 1.
Panthers assessed a bench penalty because of the unsuccessful challenge, and Lightning go back on the power play
LIGHTNING GOAL! Ross Colton scores the Lightning’s third power-play goal of the game. Lightning 4, Panthers 1.
Panthers pull Bobrovsky in favor of an extra attacker
(Lightning win 4-1)
Ondrej Palat wrist shot saved by Sergei Bobrovsky
Mackenzie Weegar shot from the point saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy
Ryan McDonagh penalized for holding Aleksander Barkov’s stick, and the Panthers get their first power play of the game
Jonathan Huberdeau shot blocked by Alex Killorn
Vasilevskiy stops Barkov shot from the right circle
Barkov cross-ice pass misses Huberdeau and the puck leaves the zone
Nick Paul sends the puck back down the ice
Lightning kill the penalty
Weegar with a hard hit on Kucherov in the corner
Duclair turns down a shot attempt after Kucherov turnover leads to a partial breakaway
Vasilevskiy stops quick Carter Verhaeghe shot from the left circle
Gustav Forsling shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Anthony Cirelli shot from the left circle held by Bobrovsky
Nice backcheck from Kucherov to lift the puck from Sam Reinhart
Claude Giroux shot from the center point sticked aside by Vasilevskiy
Vasilevskiy catches Barkov shot from the high slot
Bobrovsky stops Nick Paul shot from the slot and Palat rebound attempt
Brandon Montour shot from the left circle misses the net
Sergachev shot from the point blocked by Anton Lundell
Ross Colton and Ben Chiarot penalized for cross-checking, so we’ll play 4-on-4 for the next two minutes
Vasilevskiy makes glove save on Sam Reinhart wrister from the top of the right circle
Forsling shot from the left point saved by Vasilevskiy
Paul penalized for hooking Giroux, so Panthers get 4-on-3 advantage for 16 seconds, following by a 5-4
Cirelli blocks Huberdeau shot and knocks the puck out of the zone
McDonagh sends the puck back down the ice
Ekblad shot from the center point misses the net
Huberdeau shot from left circle blocked by Sergachev
Vasilevskiy makes save on Barkov shot through a screen
Cernak heads to locker room after blocking a shot
Lightning kill the Paul penalty; Panthers managed just two shots
Girioux shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Weegar penalized for hooking Kucherov after getting his stick into his midsection with 3:59 left in the period
LIGHTNING GOAL! Corey Perry scores into a wide-open net after a circle-to-circle pass from Kucherov. Lightning 1, Panthers 1.
Montour penalized for high-sticking Hagel
Hedman shot blocked by Lundell
(Lightning and Panthers are tied 1-1 after two periods)
Mackenzie Weegar penalized for tripping Ondrej Palat
Steven Stamkos shot blocked by Aaron Ekblad
Ross Colton shot from right circle blocked by Sergei Bobrovsky
Mikhail Sergachev breaks up Florida 2-on-1 shorthanded chance
Panthers kill the penalty; Lightning had one shot on goal during the power play
Brandon Hagel shot from the slot saved by Bobrovsky
Cal Foote shot blocked by Ben Chiarot
Anthony Duclair penalized for high-sticking Hagel
Panthers win the faceoff and send the puck down the ice
Panthers again clear the puck
Hedman drive from the center point saved by Bobrovsky and the Panthers clear the puck
Sergachev loses the puck and it goes out of the offensive zone
Sam Bennett skates the puck out of the zone, Ekblad gets shorthanded opportunity
Panthers kill the penalty
Andrei Vasilevskiy saves weak backhand shot from Mackenzie Weegar
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare slap shot saved by Bobrovsky. Radko Gudas hits Pat Maroon afterward
Weegar shot from the right point deflected wide by Patric Hornqvist
Gudas shot turned aside by Vasilevskiy
Foote blocks shot by Brandon Montour
PANTHERS GOAL: Duclair scores from the post after a cross-ice pass from Jonathan Huberdeau after Sergachev got turned around at the blue line. Panthers 1, Lightning 0.
Vasileskiy makes save on Eetu Luostarinen
Nikita Kucherov shot deflects wide of the net
Duclair blast from the high slot saved by Vasilevskiy
Errant pass from Foote leads to chance in front for Bennett, but Vasilevskiy makes a nice pad save
Bobrovsky makes a save on a Palat shot from in tight
(Panthers lead 1-0 after one period)
Pregame scouting report
Where do they go from here?
The Eastern Conference final? The Stanley Cup final? A third straight title?
Or, a second-round exit?
How do they get there? By running roughshod over the remaining playoff field? Scratching and clawing, fighting off elimination, while pushing past one opponent after another?
Or, will they finally meet their match? Will injuries hamstring their hopes? Will their best efforts ultimately prove futile?
But the Lightning have those prospects today because they battled back from a three-games-to-two deficit to survive the Maple Leafs in the opening round, keeping their goal of a third straight NHL championship in sight.
If we learned anything about the Lightning in the first round, it’s that they are as resilient as ever, and they will be tested this postseason as never before.
They moved past a Maple Leafs squad determined to reverse nearly two decades of postseason futility, whose offensive firepower and opportunistic penalty kill presented a particularly problematic matchup in a tightly called series.
Things don’t get any easier in the second round, as the Lightning face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers, who gave them one of their most difficult tests last postseason before Tampa Bay clinched the first-round series in six games.
The Lightning expect a similar challenge this season after splitting their four regular-season games with the Panthers and entering the series without the services of star forward Brayden Point, who was injured in Game 7 Saturday in Toronto.
Will the series be just another stop on the way to yet another championship? Will Tampa Bay lord over the league for a third straight season? Or is this where its reign comes to an end?
Follow our live updates, starting at 7 p.m., as the Lightning begin the second stage of a postseason journey that they hope will end with a third consecutive Cup celebration.
Game day scene
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