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Opening Statement: Panthers win Round 1 against ‘rival’ Tampa Bay

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Lightning Tampa Panthers
The Governor’s Cup, which at one time went to the winner of the annual series between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, on display at BB&T Center in 2013. // Photo courtesy @FoxSportsFlorida

The Florida Panthers came into their game Thursday with the Tampa Bay Lightning looking like a team with a little something to prove.

And, let’s be honest, they kind of do.

A single game does not a season make, but the Panthers sure looked like a legit contender especially in the second period when they scored three goals to help fuel a 5-2 victory over their across state ‘rivals.’

We put rivals in quotation marks because, as we know, this series has not been much of a rivalry over the years.

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