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Cernak and Perry put Panthers on Brink with Game 3 Win

Photo by Alex Walworth | Scrum Sports Photographer

The Tampa Bay Lightning came home in a situation none of us were completely prepared for. Following two games against the President Trophy winning Florida Panthers, the Lightning hold a two game series lead in the second round. And the Panthers are on the brink of going down 3-0. 

In a rare move due to the Kane Brown concert at Amalie Arena the teams had two days off. Setting up another rarity, back to back ganes in the playoffs.

Once again the Tampa Bay Lightning will be without star center Brayden Point. After sustaining a lower body injury in game seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Point will miss the third game of the series against the Florida Panthers. While the team have missed his production, with a 2-0 series lead, the Lightning have an opportunity to rest Point and bring him back when the team feels comfortable.

If the Lightning can continue what put them in control of the series 2-0, they will have the Panthers on the brink by the end of game three.

Can’t buy a PP goal

Florida was 24% on the power play during the regular season, one of the best teams in the NHL. So far in the 2021-2022 playoffs they are 0-25. It doesn’t help they are facing a team like the Lightning who knows what it takes to win in the playoffs after going back to back winning the Stanley Cup. Heading into this game the Bolts have four power play goals in the first two games of this series. Coming into tonight’s game, the Lightning were sitting at 26% for the playoffs.

Perry continues great playoff play

Some people on this site weren’t fans of the Corey Perry signing…… Dan Herrejon, but he has proven that for the little bit the Lightning signed him for he has paid dividends. During the regular season he had 40 points (19 goals – 21 assists). He exceeded expectations in his first season with the Lightning. One would think IF they Bolts get to their ultimate end game for this season would Perry stick around or retire. You can read all about Dan’s love of Corey Perry here..

Almost three minutes later, the unthinkable would happen…. the Panthers would score on the power play. After a penalty on Brandon Hagel for cross checking, Florida would finally get on the board with the man advantage in this 2021-2022 playoffs to tie the game 1-1. Sam Reinhart would get credited with the goal, assists to Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Cernak channels his inner Kucherov

Three minutes…. thats all it took to get the lead back for the Bolts. Erik Cernak channeled his inner Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos with a top glove side snipe to give the Lightning back a one goal lead.

Just about seven minutes later the Lightning captain would notch a goal from his office for a 3-1 game three lead. It’s his third goal of the playoffs, and seventh point. Kucherov and Victor Hedman would get the assists on the goal.

Kucherov and Stamkos sink in the dagger

With the teams going back and fourth in the 3rd, not much goal scoring happened until Florida pulled Sergei Bobrovsky and Kucherov was finally able to get on the board himself with an empty netter to basically seal the game for the Panthers, but that wasn’t it… Stamkos would get in on the empty net scoring and get his second goal of the game.

Wrap Up: Panthers on Brink

The Panthers finally getting the zero column while on the power play, will end up being too little, too late. Tampa is too good, and it seems all the magic Florida had in round one is outmatched by the Lightning’s playoff experience. The Lightning will look to sweep the Panthers out of the playoffs in game four.

Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star – Nikita Kucherov: Five shots, three assists and a goal

2nd Star – Corey Perry: Scored the game opening goal

1st Star – Andrei Vasilevskiy: Stopped 34 of 35 shots on net.


Up Next

The Bolts and Panthers will play game four Monday May 23rd at 7pm at Amalie Arena.

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