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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Panthers vs. Lightning, Game 5: Florida Likes Home Ice Advantage

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FORT LAUDERDALE — It is well documented how good the Florida Panthers have been on the road, but tonight, they are home for Game 5 when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town.

Florida is 2-0 in this series against the Lightning at Amerant Bank Arena and have won seven of its past nine playoff games at home.

Coach Paul Maurice is happy to be back in South Florida, sure, but the Panthers have a game that works anywhere.

“We started on the road last so much that we needed to be good on the road,’’ Maurice said after Monday’s morning skate at the IcePlex.

“We have been good on the road, but by the time the season ended, our road and home record evened out with 26 wins. They are almost identical records. Going back to last year, we feel like we’re a real good road team. And I think that’s true. A split on the road in the playoffs is pretty darned good. We’re happy with that split.

“But you have to be good at home when you get the chance. The guys worked hard to get that home-ice advantage, and we certainly want to use it.’’

BOB-BY

The Panthers will again go with Sergei Bobrovsky in net tonight with the Lightning starting Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Following Monday’s skate, Bobrovsky was named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

It is only the third time Bobrovsky — the only active goalie with two Vezina trophies — has been a finalist. He is the first Florida finalist since Roberto Luongo in 2004.

“He’s not 22 anymore,’’ Maurice said. “The amount of work he puts in to be as good as he is … your name doesn’t come up if you’re just hot for a month.’’

SPECIAL TEAMS?

The Panthers know one thing they have to do if they want to win Monday is to simply stay out of the penalty box.

Penalties cost them on Saturday, with the Lightning scoring only one of its six goals in Game 4 at 5-on-5.

Florida’s penalty kill has been good on the kill when it is 5-on-4, only allowing two goals all series to the NHL’s top power play unit this season.

But Tampa Bay blitzing them in 4-on-4 situations in Game 4 and Steven Stamkos’ ever-dangerous shot beating them five times already this series, the Panthers know they have to be careful.

“We had a 6-on-4, we got a 5-on-3 in there, so I am confident with the sheer numbers,” Maurice said. “But we’ve got to stay out of the box for sure, but our kill has been good.”

NOTES

— The Panthers’ lineup will remain the same as it did in Game 4, but Ryan Lomberg (illness) did skate for the second straight day.

— Sam Bennett (hand) is still on track to join the team soon, Maurice said. He will begin skating when the swelling of his injury goes down.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (WC1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1)
PANTHERS LEAD BEST-OF-7 SERIES 3-1
GAME 5

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (3-1) LINES

10 Vladimir Tarasenko // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 15 Anton Lundell // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 17 Evan Rodrigues

21 Nick Cousins // 18 Steven Lorentz // 8 Kyle Okposo

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola //  62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

41 Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Jonah Gadjovich, Josh Mahura, Toby Bjornfot, Uvis Balinskis, Evan Cormier

Injured: Ryan Lomberg (illness), Sam Bennett (upper-body)

PROJECTED TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1-3) LINES

10 Anthony Duclair // 21 Brayden Point //86 Nikita Kucherov

38 Brandon Hagel // 71 Anthony Cirelli // 91 Steven Stamkos

23 Michael Eyssimont //20 Nick Paul // 41 Mitchell Chaffee

64 Tyler Motte // 11 Luke Glendening // 74 Tanner Jeannot

77 Victor Hedman // 43 Darren Raddysh

89 Mikhail Segrachev // 81 Erik Cernak

78 Emil Lilleberg // 24 Matt Dumba

88 Andrei Vasilevskiy 

90 Matt Tomkins

Scratched: Austin Watson, Calvin de Haan, Conor Sheary, Max Crozier, Nick Perbix

Injured: Haydn Fleury (upper body), Jonas Johansson (lower body)

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines Courtesy NHL.com

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