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Tampa Bay Lightning Making a Run, Help out the Florida Panthers

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David Pastrnak crashes into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Darren Raddysh after being tripped by Anthony Duclair during the second period Wednesday night in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Tampa Bay Lightning continued its run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night — and helped their old pals, the Florida Panthers, in the process.

The Lightning won for the seventh time in eight games by dropping the visiting Boston Bruins 3-1.

With the win, the Lightning pulled within three points of the idle Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic.

As for the Panthers, they remain two points back of Boston for the Atlantic lead — and now have two games in hand on the Bruins.

Florida has 10 games left.

On Wednesday, Brayden Point broke a 1-1 tie at 6:50 of the second period and the Lightning did not give up the lead again. Nikita Kucherov got his 42nd of the season into an empty net to end things.

The Bruins could have clinched a spot in the playoffs with the win — and also would have jumped the Rangers and Dallas for first place in the NHL standings.

Speaking of the Panthers, Florida is back home tonight and will go in the Way Back Machine to celebrate the 2010s against the Islanders.

Spencer Knight is tossing shutouts in Charlotte, while Uvis Balinskis returns to the Checkers meaning Aaron Ekblad likely returns against New York.

Florida will punch its ticket to the playoffs with a win tonight.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

The Panthers may have lost all three games to the Bruins this season, but this is a rivalry that keeps getting better and better. Story from Alan Greenberg.

Sam Reinhart has mostly played with Sasha Barkov this season, but he certainly looks right at home after being reunited with Anton Lundell and Eetu Luostarinen. Those two seem to like playing with Reino as well. And why not? Colby D. Guy has the story.

— What, the Panthers worry? Matthew Tkachuk knows his team should have tightened up a bit in their losses to the Rangers and Bruins, but he ain’t scared. Nor should he be.

— Barkov was back Tuesday night and announced his presence with authority.

Spencer Knight is lighting it up with the Charlotte Checkers. On Wednesday, Knight stopped 19 shots in a 3-0 win over Hartford.

That’s his second straight shutout and third in his past four starts. Not too shabby.

— Don’t forget to subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel. Lots of great pre- and postgame reaction from the Panthers. It’s free, too.

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

Speaking of the Boston Bruins, GM Don Sweeney will have over $21 million in cap space this summer. Will that cash mean the addition of Elias Lindholm and/or Noah Hanifin?

— You can probably count on the Philadelphia Flyers will be looking for an upgrade in goal this offseason. Anthony Stolarz was drafted by the Flyers, grew up in Jersey. He’s a free agent this summer. Just saying.

— Upset that the Panthers lost to the Bruins on Tuesday? Well, the Colorado Avalanche lost at home to the Canadiens.

— Although we’re not too concerned about the upcoming NHL Draft down here, the Montreal Canadiens are keeping an eye on things. For good reason.

— The Detroit Red Wings have something in Simon Edvinsson.

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

ON DECK

NEW YORK ISLANDERS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports SUN, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Series Tied 1-1) — At Florida: Islanders 4, Panthers 3 (Dec. 2); Thursday. At Islanders: Panthers 3, Islanders 2 OT (Jan 27).
  • All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 57-33-11, 8 ties
  • Next Up for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

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