Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar (52) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) go for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Lightning lit up by Panthers

The Panthers went to Tampa Bay yesterday with a vengeance, more than likely to seek revenge from the 2020-2021 playoffs. And revenge is what they got as the Sunshine State showdown in Amalie Arena resulted in a 4-1 Lightning defeat. The Bolts are now 2-2.

The in-state rival matchup was an anticipated one as the last time the two teams met up, Tampa killed the Cats’ dream of holding its first Stanley Cup. In May, the Lightning eliminated the Panthers from the playoffs with a shutout in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round. In present day, the Lightning are reigning Stanley Cup champions and the Panthers are matching their best start in franchise history. Prior to 2020-21, the Panthers had not started a season with three straight wins since entering the NHL in 1993. They are currently 3-0 and lead the Atlantic Division.

Game Recap

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The game capped off with both teams going scoreless in the first period. The first score of the game came 6:12 into the second period with a power play goal scored by Brandon Montour. The game then fell flat again with no scoring until 2:36 into the third period when Brayden Point gave Tampa Bay its first and last score of the game.

The Panthers then absorbed all the life out of Tampa Bay a minute later when Aleksander Barkov slung a loose puck right past Andrei Vasilevskiy to put the Cats back on top.

Vasilevskiy let another goal slip past him when rookie Anton Lundell launched one in with assistance from Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment.

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The Panthers closed the game out wither another score two minutes left on the board with an empty netter from left wing Anthony Duclair.

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Lightning Moving Forward

Prior to the matchup, it was announced that Bolts’ star forward Nikita Kucherov is out indefinitely with a lower body injury. He went down on Saturday’s game against the Capitals. Kucherov also missed all of last years 56 regular season games recovering from a right hip surgery. He then went on to lead the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists). Coach Jon Cooper said Monday “He’s going to be out for a while here. We’re not going to put a timetable on it until we get an official word. In the short term here he’s definitely out.” His lack of presence was felt as the Lightning went 0-for-6 on the man advantage yesterday.

Florida Panther’s newbies showed out in yesterdays showdown. Spencer Knight made the first start in his first full NHL season. The 13th pick in the 2019 draft made 30 saves on 31 shots. Rookie Anton Lundell introduced himself to the league with his first career goal and assist.

The Lightning look to win their first home game of the season when they host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night.

About Jennica Clerveaux

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