Friday, February 23, 2024

Lightning is approaching the second round

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
"Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic."

The Stanley Cup champions advanced 3-1 in that series from the first round and pushed their Florida rival to the brink of precipice.

Lightning edged 5-1 in the second frame when Kilurn overcame Sergey Bobrovsky’s awakening within 94 seconds.

Nikita Kuchirov scored one goal and three assists for Lightning, who can finish the Panthers Monday night at Sunrise.

Anthony Cirelli, Yanni Gord and Ondrej Balat hit the Tampa Bay team roster mark, which saw Andre Vasilievsky return to the back with a 39-block performance.

Two-time Vesina Cup winner, Bobrovsky was perfect in front of nine relief shots of Chris Dredger on Thursday evening when the Leopards came from behind to defeat the Lightning 6-5.

Lightning rotated the needle three times in seven shots in the first twenty on Saturday. Joel Quinnville pulled the hook and sent Dredger into the fight after Kilurn raised the score to 5–1 with a pass from Stephen Stamkus.

Jonathan Huberdeo and Carter Verhagy found the back of the grid in the panthers’ power game.

Kuchirov scored three goals and six assists in four playoff matches, having missed the entire 2021 season with thigh surgery on December 29.

The Lightning ended a four-game winning streak at home in the qualifiers and claimed their first playoff victory at the Amalie Arena since the fifth match of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018.

John Cooper’s men have not lost two in a row in qualifying since the first round in 2019, when they were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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The Panthers would need to win three games in a row to end 25 years in a row without a win in the first round.

Other matches to come

The Penguins and the Islanders are currently facing each other in the fourth game in the series. The Penguins are leading 2-1 so far in this game.

Wild will also attempt to hook the series against the Golden Knights later in the evening.

He will face Canadian Maple Leaves, who will be deprived of his injured captain John Tavares.

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