CORAL SPRINGS — The Florida Panthers did not have to tell that gathered media that Sunday was an optional practice.
It was either that or half the team was injured.
The Panthers had a nice, light workout on Sunday but will get back at it this morning as they prepare for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The schedule finally came out early this morning and, well, it’s something.
The Panthers will be going up against the Miami Heat for much of this upcoming series and will have a back-to-back thrown in for fun.
But it should be one heck of a series.
We take a little deeper look at the Panthers-Lightning rivalry.
Brandon Montour says quite a few of his teammates ain’t mad they are playing the Lightning for a second postseason in a row.
Sure the Lightning have seen that quote.
— Bridgeport won in Charlotte on Saturday, forcing Game 4 in the best-of-5 series. That’ll be tonight.
— I was on Sports Xtra last night talking about the Panthers. Check it out HERE.
— Sunday’s practice media sessions with Montour, Sam Reinhart and Andrew Brunette is on the FloridaHockeyNow YouTube channel.
Check it out — and if you like what you see on the YouTube page, please subscribe!
As much as the Panthers say they learned from losing to the Lightning in the playoffs last year, Tampa Bay will tell you that opener was its toughest test of the postseason.
— Five Panthers who could give the Lightning trouble. Hint: One rhymes with Verswaygee.
— These Bolts are making all new playoff memories.
— Meet your Lightning beat writers on Twitter (in no order): @EddieInTheyard; @Erik_Erlendsson; @JoeSmith; @faiello_mari
AROUND THE NHL
The Pittsburgh Penguins held a Game 7 lead in the third, but it will be Artemi Panarin and the Rangers moving onto Carolina after winning in OT.
— The Boston Bruins lost to a better team. It’s that simple.
— Tom Wilson sustained a pretty bad injury which is why his first-round lasted just three shifts for the Capitals.
— The Washington Capitals will look at all goalie options moving forward.
— Sam Carchidi got hit with the Covid and we wish him all the best. Between watching a lot of TV, he has some thoughts on the Philadelphia Flyers. And, yes, they were pretty coherent.
— Something has to give when it comes to the Maple Leafs, right?
— The L.A. Kings’ bid to play spoiler came up a little short against the Oilers.
— Could the Jets trade up in the draft?
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
PANTHERS V. LIGHTNING
- Game 1: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560 (Miami/Fort Lauderdale); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- Full schedule — Game 1: Tampa Bay at Florida (TNT), 7; Game 2: Tampa Bay at Florida, Thursday, 7 (TNT); Game 3: Florida at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1:30 (TNT); Game 4: Florida at Tampa Bay, Monday, 7 (TNT); Game 5*: Tampa Bay at Florida, Wednesday, May 25 (Time, TV TBA); Game 6*: Florida at Tampa Bay Lightning, Friday, May 27 (Time, TV TBA); Game 7*: Tampa Bay at Florida, Sunday, May 29 (Time, TV TBA). (*) — If necessary.
PANTHERS V. LIGHTNING
- Regular season series — Tied 2-2: Florida 4, @Lightning 1 (Oct. 19); @Lightning 3, Florida 2 OT (Nov. 13); @Florida 9, Lightning 3 (Dec 30); Tampa Bay 8, @Florida 4 (April 24).
- All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 73-49-18, 10 ties
- Playoff history: Second meeting; Tampa Bay d. Florida 4-2 in R1, 2021
- Round 1 — Florida d. Washington 4-2 — Game 1: Washington 4, @Florida 2; Game 2: @Florida 5, Washington 1; Game 3: @Washington 6, Florida 1; Game 4: Florida 3, @Washington 2 (OT); Game 5: @Florida 5, Washington 3; Game 6: Florida 4, Washington 3 (OT).
- Round 1 — Tampa Bay d. Toronto 4-3