It’s a Hockey Day in the Sunshine State as the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning renew their rivalry tonight in Sunrise.
The two teams have played over 20 times since the start of the 2021 season — and almost every game has been testy.
There is a lot of dislike there.
Now, onto today’s links! Lots of stories to get to today…
The Sunshine Skate pits two top teams — and two top goalies.
The Panthers and Lightning series is going to hinge on Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sergei Bobrovsky.
— Ben Chiarot has been a big piece of the Panthers’ defensive plans since coming over at the deadline and has been great with Aaron Ekblad.
— Anthony Duclair was scratched for Game 6 in Washington — but he’s back with some old pals for the Lightning opener.
— We will be traveling to Tampa to cover the team this weekend.
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— Monday’s media sessions following practice with Chiarot and Andrew Brunette is up on the FloridaHockeyNow YouTube channel.
Also going to have a LIVE! Pregame show coming up around 11 a.m. so head over there if you want to watch — and please send in your questions.
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Vasilevskiy speaks to the media before the series opens and had a lot of nice things to say about the Panthers.
He sounds ready to play.
— Brayden Point is highly doubtful for Game 1.
— Nick Paul was brought in by the Lightning for the playoffs — and he helped knock out the Leafs all by himself.
AROUND THE NHL
The big news in the NHL came early on Monday as it was learned Pete DeBoer and his coaching were fired by the Vegas Golden Knights after missing the playoffs for the first time.
A lot of injuries, cap hell.
Yeah, seems like a good idea to blame the coach.
— Lane Lambert replaces longtime boss Barry Trotz as coach of the New York Islanders.
— Patrice Bergeron says he will continue with the Boston Bruins or retire.
— Dave Molinari reflects on what went wrong with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
— Taking a look at the future of former Panthers defenseman Olli Juolevi in Detroit?
— Center Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers is one of three Masterton Trophy finalists.
— Goalie Darcy Kuemper talks about his eye injury sustained in the Colorado Avalanche series against the Preds.
— There is a Maple Leafs bar in the middle of Vancouver Canucks country — and apparently it was a sad place to be for Game 7.
— Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens is one of the three finalists for the Masterton.
— Going back in time for an old fashioned Battle of Alberta as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers meet in the postseason for the first time in 31 years.
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS V. TAMPA BAY 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