Panthers Playoff GameDay
Round 2 | Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Florida Panthers 1
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SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers season may be done.
Ross Colton’s goal with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation put the Panthers on the ropes Thursday night as the Lightning went from headed to overtime to holding the hammer on its state rival.
Colton’s goal handed the Lightning a 2-1 win in Game 2, giving the Lightning a 2-0 series advantage with it now turning to Tampa.
Florida, to move on, has to win four of the final five games — with three in Tampa.
The Florida power play, of course, was the center of attention on Thursday night.
And not in a good way.
The Panthers, as many know, came into Game 2 without a power play goal in their first seven games of this postseason.
It did not come back to haunt them against Washington — but it already had in Game 1.
Tampa Bay’s success when playing up a man certainly is not helping Florida’s cause.
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On Thursday, the Lightning scored the first goal on its first power play chance, Steven Stamos perfectly feeding Corey Perry in the slot for a deflection past Sergei Bobrovsky with 7:54 left in the first.
That made the Lightning 4-for-7 on the power play in this series.
The Panthers got their first kick at it early in the second period. After getting off one shot, they left the ice to some mid-to-moderate booing.
When Florida did the same on its second power play chance — and Tampa Bay almost got a shorthanded goal out of it — the boo birds were out in force.
The Panthers were able to turn those frowns upside down with 1:53 left in the second as Eetu Luostarinen let one fly from the top side of the left circle.
The puck, magically, somehow trickled past Andrei Vasilevskiy and suddenly things were even.
Florida got its third power play chance late in the second and put up some good chances at Vasilevskiy but went into the second break tied at 1 — but, with 1:14 remaining of power play time.
One would think the Panthers would get a bunch of chances, what with all that time to work something up, only that was not the case.
Florida ended up closing that power play out without scoring again.
The Panthers were able to keep possession of the puck and came tantalizingly close to scoring on a Sam Bennett shot which Vasilevskiy struggled to find between his skates.
The puck was cleared away just before Patric Hornqvist could slide in and tap it in.
Tampa Bay also had a number of good scoring chances but Bobrovsky was absolutely on fire — especially in the third.
After stopping Nikita Kucherov’s blast on the power play, he made a spectacular glove save on a one-timer from Ondrej Palat from the right circle to keep things tied with 4:02 left.
Florida got another late power play — went with five forwards — but did not get the goal.
As the game sped toward overtime, Kucherov tracked down a puck along the back wall with Gus Forsling chasing.
Kucherov sent a no-look pass past MacKenzie Weegar right to Colton who pounded it past Bobrovsky for the shocking end to the game.
The Lightning, which led Florida 2-0 last year, will try to finish out the Panthers at home this playoff season with back-to-back games Sunday and Monday.
GR’S THREE STARS OF GAME 2
1. Ross Colton, Tampa Bay
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay
3. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
PANTHERS V. LIGHTNING (TB leads 2-0)
- Game 3: Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
- Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa
- TV/Streaming: TNT
- Postgame: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560 (Miami/Fort Lauderdale); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
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; Tampa Bay d. Toronto 4-3
- Full schedule — Game 1: Tampa Bay 4, @Florida 1; Game 2: Tampa Bay 2, @Florida 1; 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.
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Inflexibility of Burnette in resisting changing to different power play and laid back PK killed us.Weegar abandons coverage as he often does and costs us last goal.Bye Bye Panthers.
I’ve been concerned with having a rookie coach in the playoffs, but I loved what Brunette did today, even starting the game with the 4th line. The Panthers outplayed and outshot Tampa, and played a smart game. Weegar did not cover the net on that last goal and Tampa makes you pay for mistakes. Bruno was a big reason we played well today, not the cause of our loss. I actually have more faith going forward because of it, even down 2.
He is in charge of the power play and little has changed. What can be said about that. Game one lost 3-0 on special teams lost game by 3. Game two lost by 1 and lost special teams 1-0. Plenty of time for adjustments and not much made. Why do we have Hornquist if we don’t have him taking away vision and getting dirty goals on PP. I’d have him and Rhino down low and the best 3 players that make quick passes and quick one time shots to the net before the passing lanes close at a moderate pace… Read more »
I don’t believe the outcome accurately conveys how well the Panthers played tonight. Bob carried past our lack of offensive production. If you look at the entire game, the Panthers out played them. Snake-bitten on the power play and Weegs blowing his coverage (I think he was trying to deliver a big hit on Kucherov ) is what lost the game. The Panthers play better when they open things up and use all 4 lines. The more they did this, the more the Lightening break down. Both games could have gone either way. The odds of the Cats seeing the… Read more »
The difference in game 1 3 goals Tampa won special teams 3-0 difference game 2 1 goal, Tampa won special teams 1-0. Not much change noticeable w/ plenty of time to refine it. We are gift wrapping everything to other teams w/ incompetent play. A veteran like Weager has to know to look behind him and stay at home as Kuch was being pressured by Forsy and can’t score from there. It was a pee wee division mistake that was fatal and could cost us the series. Well coached and disciplined teams like Washington and Tampa do not give you… Read more »