Lightning Sweep Panthers in NHL’s Second Round

Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Background

  • Tampa Bay chalked up a series sweep over the Panthers as the Lightning tamed them in the playoffs for the second consecutive season
  • The Lightning was favored at (-125) on Monday night which is the first time they have been favored in series
  • Tampa Bay moved forward to the Eastern Conference finals as they look for their third Stanley Cup in a row

Get Out the Brooms

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off the Florida Panthers, 2-0, with a pair of third-period goals by Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat.

Goalie Andre Vasilevskiy had a stellar four-game series as he stopped all 49 Panthers shots in Monday night’s victory and held Florida to now goal in each of the first three outings. The Lightning were also without scorer Brayden Point who was injured in Game 6 and was never really able to return.

On Sunday afternoon, Tampa Bay dominated Game 3 when the Lightning took control in the second period. The Lightning entered the contest as Florida was favored with (-115) odds, with sportsbooks giving the Panthers the favorite’s role for the third consecutive game in this series. The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning a commanding 3-1 lead when he scored at the 10:23 mark of the second with this offering.

After Nikola Kucherov gave the Lightning a 4-1 advantage with 6:06 to play, Stamkos scored his second goal of the game 1:45 later to officially help Tampa Bay bury the Panthers and set up a Game 4 where Tampa Bay could dispose of Florida for the second consecutive season in the playoffs.

A Lightning Surge

Giving the nod to the Florida Panthers was potentially a solid endeavor as the Panthers nailed an NHL-high 58 wins and won the Atlantic Division. The Lightning was third in the Atlantic and split the four games between the two teams in the regular season.

Please Note:
The sportsbooks had favored the Panthers in Games 2 and 3 by (-170) and in Game 1 by (-115).

Tampa Bay was favored in the first two games during the regular season, while the Panthers were given the nod in the last two games. The Lightning defense thwarted 34 of 35 Panthers’ shots on goal and all 49 Monday evening. Throughout the series, the defense was an issue for the Panthers, who led the NHL with 4.15 goals per game.

On the flip side:
Kucherov may be the best playmaker in the NHL with his ability to go to the ice and set up teammates with scores where they are in position to get open shots on goal.

He has a team-high 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in the playoffs while Victor Hedman has 10 (two goals, eight assists).

The story for the Lightning offense is Ross Colton, who has joined Corey Perry with a team-high five goals.

Lightning Strikes

Tampa Bay has previously had a 4-0 advantage when the Lightning has gone up 3-0 in series throughout history. They have swept two series with the 4-0 ledger and last night, made its first four-game sweep under current coach John Cooper.

The Bolts won three out of four series vs. the Panthers in the postseason and the Lightning have now posted a 21-13 ledger in game fours, but they are 6-7 at home in game fours.

Sunday’s win was the sixth time in the last eight years that Tampa Bay has appeared in the Eastern Conference finals. The Lightning continue to look to be the first team to win three Stanley Cups in a row since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s. The Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83.

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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