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Second round: Lightning-Panthers Game 4 live updates

Tampa Bay sweeps Florida to advance to the Eastern Conference final for a third straight season.
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) battle Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett (9) for the puck as it bounces up during second period action of Game 4 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on Monday, May 23, 2022 in Tampa.
Published May 23|Updated May 24

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Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat scored goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 49 shots he faced as the Lightning shut out the Panthers 2-0 in Game 4 Monday at Amalie Arena to sweep the second-round series.

Tampa Bay advanced to the Eastern Conference final for a third straight season and sixth in the past eight. It will play the winner of the Hurricanes-Rangers series, which Carolina leads 2-1.

The Lightning won despite being outshot 49-25 and having two goals disallowed in the second period.

Florida won a challenge for a missed game stoppage after it was determined the puck left the playing surface and went into the netting prior to an apparent Alex Killorn goal.

Two minutes later, a seeming Nikita Kucherov goal was disallowed after it was determined that Anthony Cirelli moved the puck to Kucherov with a hand pass.

Here’s how it happened:

Third period

Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) drives the net against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) and collides with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the first period.
Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) drives the net against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) and collides with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the first period. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Gustav Forsling wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Hagel wrist shot saved by Bobrovsky

Bennett wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Giroux wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Palat misses the net on a 3-on-2

Cernak shot from the right point goes wide

Killorn wrist shot saved by Bobrovsky

Weegar shot from left point saved by Vasilevskiy

LIGHTNING GOAL! Pat Maroon bats the puck out of the air, and it trickles off the back of Bobrovsky into the net. (13:44 left) Lightning 1, Panthers 0.

Barkov penalized for high-sticking Hedman

Perry shot from the slot saved by Bobrovsky

Stamkos getting stitched up on the bench after running face-first into the back of Lundell

Weegar penalized for cross-checking Killorn

Perry shot blocked by Barkov

Kucherov shot misses wide

Bobrovsky robs Palat at the right post

McDonagh shot blocked out of the zone

Montour blocks Kucherov shot from the slot

Barkov shot from right circle goes off the post (4:57 left)

Puck shot along the sideboards deflects off the helmet of a linesman and Vasilevskiy has to be quick with his stick to keep it from going in the net

Palat picks off a pass below the Panthers goal line, and Tampa Bay kills some time

Palat penalized for delay of game after shooting puck over the boards from his own end (2:30 left)

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Barkov shot by Vasilevskiy, as is Hornqvist’s rebound attempt

Bobrovsky leaves the net for an extra attacker, 6-on-4 advantage for Florida

Hedman shoots wide of the empty net

Forsling shot from center point saved by Vasilevskiy

LIGHTNING GOAL! Cirelli clears the puck down the ice and it bounces off the end boards to Palat, who skates the puck into an empty net. LIGHTNING 2, PANTHERS 0

(Lightning win 2-0, clinch series 4-0)

Second period

Lightning defenseman Cal Foote (52) is pictured on the ice during pregame warmups.
Lightning defenseman Cal Foote (52) is pictured on the ice during pregame warmups. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The Panthers will have 35 seconds remaining on the power play from the Kucherov penalty

Bobrovskiy stops Kucherov on a breakaway and a Cirelli follow-up attempt

Verhaeghe penalized for cross-checking Sergachev

Reinhart wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Perry wrist shot saved by Bobrovsky

Panthers kill the penalty; no Lightning shots on the power play

Chance for Bennett in front after centering pass from Verhaeghe

Bennett fans on shot from right circle after cross-ice pass from Huberdeau

Ekblad drive goes off the shaft of a stick

Hagel blocks a shot

Verhaeghe hits both posts with a shot from the inner right circle

LIGHTNING GOAL DISALLOWED: Alex Killorn tips in a Mikhail Sergachev shot from the center point. But Florida won a challenge for a missed game stoppage after it was determined the puck left the playing surface and went into the netting prior to the goal.

Huberdeau shot turned aside by Vasilevskiy

Chiarot shot from the point hits Bennett, who is hurting on the bench

Hagel has a breakaway opportunity, but the puck rolls on him

LIGHTNING GOAL DISALLOWED: Kucherov snaps a shot over Bobrovsky’s goal from the left circle after a faceoff win by Cirelli in the offensive zone (9:28 left). But the goal is disallowed after replays show Cirelli moved the puck to Kucherov with a hand pass.

Paul rings a shot off the goalpost

Bobrovsky makes a save on Hedman drive

Bobrovsky makes save on Killorn

Gudas hurting after making diving play to keep the puck in at the offensive blue line

Vasilevskiy robs Bennett at the right post

Ekblad penalized for interference on Kucherov

Panthers kill the penalty

Pressure from Kucherov forces an errant short from Reinhart on a 2-on-1 for Florida

(Lightning and Panthers tied 0-0 after two periods)

First period

Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) and left wing Alex Killorn (17) are pictured on the ice during warmups before Game 4.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) and left wing Alex Killorn (17) are pictured on the ice during warmups before Game 4. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Andrei Vasilevskiy makes save on Claude Giroux tip-in attempt

Maxim Mamin breaks up Steven Stamkos centering pass for Nikita Kucherov

Aleksander Barkov deflection saved by Vasilevskiy

Sam Reinhart wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Brandon Montour snapshot saved by Vasilevskiy

Mikhail Sergachev blocks Ben Chiarot shot

Gustav Forsling shot blocked by Cal Foote

Ryan McDonagh shot wide of the net

Brandon Montour shot from left point saved by Vasilevskiy

Jonathan Huberdeau breaks up centering pass

Ondrej Palat shot blocked by Aaron Ekblad

Zach Bogosian wrist shot saved by Sergei Bobrovsky

Ekblad shot blocked by Nick Paul

MacKenzie Weegar shot blocked by Paul

Vasilevskiy stops Ekblad shot after give-and-go

Huberdeau shot blocked by Foote

Huberdeau misses the net

Bobrovsky saves Anthony Cirelli shot on 3-on-2

Radko Gudas takes a run at Ross Colton but loses his edge, then gets up and hits Hagel

Reinhart shot from the left circle goes off Vasilevskiy’s mask and out of play

Vasilevskiy makes a save, and then Carter Verhaeghe misses the net on a rebound attempt

Cirelli goes hard to the net and runs into Bobrovsky. Cirelli does not try to avoid the contact and is penalized for goaltender interference (10:34 left)

Ekblad blast from the left point blocked by Ryan McDonagh

Ekblad shot blocked by Erik Cernak

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare clears the puck out of the zone

Lightning kill the penalty

Bennett shot blocked by McDonagh

Backhand shot by Paul goes up over the net off Bobrovsky after a giveaway by Florida (under 7 minutes left)

Verhaeghe keeps Kucherov backhander away from McDonagh

Vasilevskiy saves Ekblad shot from the left circle, then gives Vasilevskiy a quick slap with his stick

Vasilevskiy saves Chiarot shot from the center point

Weegar shot blocked by Hedman

Weegar backhand shot blocked by Vasilevskiy

Girioux shot blocked by Jan Rutta

Gudas shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Paul shot from left circle misses the net

Lundell shot from left point saved by Vasilevskiy

Kucherov fans on one-timer from right circle

Vasilevskiy stops Gudas at the right post

Kucherov penalized for slashing Gudas on the backcheck (1:25 left)

Vasilevskiy makes save on Verhaeghe from right circle

Hornqvist shot from in close stopped by Vasilevskiy

Cirelli blocks a shot, and Lightning clear the puck

(Lightning and Panthers tied 0-0 after one period)

Pregame scouting report

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), left, is congratulated by defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and the rest of the team after their Game 3 victory.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), left, is congratulated by defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and the rest of the team after their Game 3 victory. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Unbelievable, right?

Beat the Panthers tonight, and the Lightning will advance to the Eastern Conference final for a third consecutive season. They’ll also be halfway to the 16 postseason wins needed to clinch a third straight Stanley Cup championship.

But that’s only half of the story, as Tampa Bay has been the dominant team in the NHL for much of the past decade.

Related: Erik Cernak finds right side of the puck in Game 3 vs. Panthers

Eliminate the Panthers and the Lightning, who lead the series 3-0, will secure their sixth conference final appearance in the past eight seasons.

In addition to their back-to-back Cups and loss in the 2015 final, they came within a victory of advancing to the Cup final in 2016 and ‘18, as close as a goal when they fell to the Penguins in the 2016 conference final.

Now, that’s dominance.

The Lightning had to add grit to their lineup and commit to defense to succeed in the playoffs. But their core — Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat — has been together for most of that run.

And judging by their past several performances, they have no intention of exiting this postseason any time soon.

Related: Andrei Vasilevskiy is the antidote to every Lightning fan’s postseason fears

Tampa Bay has allowed just one goal in each of its past four playoff games, eliminating Toronto in seven games in the opening round and pushing Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida to the brink in the second.

In the absence of star center Brayden Point (lower-body injury), Kucherov has stepped up with seven points in the series, including four in a 5-1 victory Sunday in Game 3. Corey Perry leads the team with three goals in the series and is tied with Ross Colton for the team playoff lead with five.

The Lightning have killed nine of 10 penalties and scored on 4 of 11 opportunities with the man-advantage.

Related: Lightning-Panthers Game 3 report card: The business of winning

But the story of the series has been sacrifice, as Tampa Bay has blocked 59 shots over the three games, including 24 in a 2-1 win in Game 2. When shots do get through to the net, Vasilevskiy has been there to stop them, saving 102 of 105.

Follow our live updates throughout Game 4 tonight at Amalie Arena, as the Lightning get the first of four chances to knock off the Panthers.

Game day scene

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