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Game 1: Lightning makes the Point, tops Florida Panthers 5-4



Lightning game 1 panthers

Game 1 of the Sunshine Battle or whatever it’s called got off to a rousing start Sunday night as the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay showed last week’s show of aggression was not a show.

These teams, honest to goodness, do not seem to like each other.

This really does look like it’s going to be one whale of a series.

In the first postseason game ever played between Florida’s two NHL teams, Brayden Point scored two goals in the third period — including with just over a minute left — to lead the Lightning to a 5-4 win at a sold out (9,646 capacity) BB&T Center.

The best-of-7 series continues Tuesday night at 8 in Sunrise.

Captain Sasha Barkov, who had a goal and an assist — plus a takedown of Jan Rutta — said the Panthers have already moved on from the Game 1 loss.

“I know it sucks but it happened and now we have to concentrate on the next game,’’ Barkov said. “We had some good momentum during the game. We have to learn to defend a little better but other than that, I liked our effort.”

With the win Sunday, the Lightning took home ice back as its own. The Panthers need to win Tuesday to even things up before the series moves to Tampa and to do that, Florida has to stay out of the penalty box.

The Lightning scored three of its five goals — including the game-tying one from Point — while skating with the man advantage.

”It was a very intense game, there was a lot going on out there,” an extremely hoarse Joel Quenneville said. “The power play was the difference tonight. Five-on-five we were OK, but the goals were there on special teams. … Every shift against that team is so critical. They can make something out of nothing.”

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