On Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off in game one of their round two series. The Lightning came away with four unanswered goals to win the game 4-1.
Despite the regular-season success for the Panthers that awarded them the Presidents’ Trophy, this series now has Tampa Bay with home ice. The Lightning leaned on experience in game one. They were without Brayden Point, one of their star players. With Point out, numerous players jumped up in the lineup and helped fill in for the star player.
That is how things go in Tampa. It always seems they have the next-man-up mentality that keeps their roster going through long playoff series. No Point, no problem; this team will find a way to get things done as they did in game seven and again yesterday in their debut match against the Panthers.
The Lightning and Panthers both have parts of game one they would want to take back, but getting the win is all that matters at the end of the day.
After a long grueling first series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, I expected to find round two against the Panthers to be that much harder for the Lighting. However, with Vasilevskiy returning to his usual self with a strong performance and a fourth line that finally got to make an impact on the game, things became more lopsided in game one.
Special teams matter, and the Panthers should realize that after game one. With Tampa Bay getting three power-play goals while the Panthers failed to capitalize on any chances that can be a difference-maker, especially with coach Andrew Brunette trying to challenge a goal late in the game that would eventually lead to yet another power play for the Lightning to score on.
The first game of the battle of Florida was a bit underwhelming, but this series has the potential to go on six or seven games – that is unless Florida cannot overcome this adversity they faced early on.