Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning center Ross Colton celebrates scoring against the Florida Panthers in the closing seconds of Game 2 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Lightning Looks to Secure Spot at Conference Finals

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to clinch their sixth consecutive Conference Finals appearance in eight years. A victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Monday night would secure their spot.

 

Following a 5-1 win over Florida in Game 3 on Sunday, the Lightning extended their lead to 3-0 in a grueling best-of-7 series. According to the NHL, only four teams have ever come back from such a deficit in the postseason.

After leading the league with 29 comeback wins in the regular season and earning the 2022 NHL’s President Trophy, the Panthers will look to come from behind once again.

“We know we can do it,” Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. “We have that kind of team. We have resilience. We showed it all year, so why not do it now?”

Nonetheless, the Lightning know how difficult close-out games are.

“Everybody knows these are the hardest ones to win,” said Lightning forward Corey Perry. “Their backs are against the wall, and you know they’re going to play with desperation. You know they’re going to come out. You know what they’re going to do.”

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is playing his heart out so far. He’s held Florida to one goal in each of the first three games. Additionally, he went 34 for 35 in saves in the Game 3 win. He enters tonight’s game 9-0 with a .970 save percentage since 2020 in series-clinching games.

Vasilevskiy will have an opportunity to increase those numbers as the Bolts chase their third sweep in franchise history. Game 4 begins Monday night at 7 p.m.

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