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Frantic third period helps Lightning secure Game 1 victory on the road

Frantic third period proved to be the difference maker as Andrei Vasilevskiy and the 4th line of the Bolts help secure the victory in Game 1. Tensions would be high, and hits would be a plenty as the rivalry with the Panthers is renewed yet again. Lightning would be without Point for Game 1 but that did not stop the offense from scoring. Later on, Tampa would lose a defenseman yet that did not stop them from finding a way to take control of the game and steal a victory on the road.


Tight play to begin the game

To start, Lightning 20 seconds in received a power play opportunity. MacKenzie Weegar is called for tripping, but the Panthers kill off the penalty. After most of the first half of the period went with not much action Tampa once again went on the power play. Anthony Duclair’s struggles in the playoffs continue after he is called for Hi-sticking. Following, teams combined for 3 shots total on goal in what was expected to be a physical, defensive battle. Once again, Panthers penalty kill did a great job shutting down the Bolts offense to keep the game scoreless. To this point Florida’s best chances to score were when they were short-handed. On the other hand, the Lightning looked better at even strength but could not crack the code of the Panthers defense.

Duclair redeems himself

It was clear these two teams disliked each other as hits were made more frequently than shots on goal. Afterwards, Panthers started the engines rolling on offense swinging the momentum in their favor. Then, Duclair earned redemption by opening up the scoring in Game 1. Jonathan Huberdeau fed the puck to Duclair who buried it past Andrei Vasilevskiy with ease for the 1-0 lead. Panthers continued to outplay the Lightning in the period, but Vasy remained sharp following the goal. To summarize, rest of the first period remained scoreless with Florida leading 1-0 and out-shot the Lightning 10-7.

Penalties pile up

Starting off, Florida received their first power play of the night in the opening minute. Ryan McDonagh was called for the holding the stick and the Bolts penalty kill went to work. Fortunately, Lightning were able to kill off the penalty keeping the score at 1-0. Battle rages on as teams were feistier than they were in the opening period. Then, midway through the period both Ross Colton and Ben Chiarot are called for cross checking. Chiarot then went for a head bump but was not penalized for it. Next, on the 4-on-4 Nick Paul is called for hooking giving the Panthers yet another power play. All these penalties led to a frantic game which was to be expected from an in-state rivalry.

Perry ties the game

Again, Bolts penalty kill gets the job done but not before a couple of close calls. Erik Cernak was shaken up after blocking a shot as the penalty expired and headed to the locker room afterwards. Lightning now played with being down both a forward and a defenseman. They then received their third power play of the night and looked to score the equalizer. Tampa would do just that as Nikita Kucherov fed Corey Perry the perfect pass to set up the goal. Perry then fired the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game 1-1. Afterwards, Lightning finished the period on the power play that would carry over into the 3rd period. Neither team could see it coming, but a frantic third period awaits.

4th line comes in clutch

Panthers were able to kill off the penalty to start the period keeping the score 1-1. After the power play Lightning kept the pressure going on offense nearly taking the lead. Net, Lightning took the lead for the first time all game with a goal from the 4th line. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare reached out for the puck and buried the puck past Bobrovsky to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead. With momentum on their side Bolts looked to run away with the Game 1 victory on the road. Panthers thought they had scored on the power play, but Jon Cooper challenged the goal. After review it was determined the puck went into the netting and out of play prior to the goal being scored. As a result, the goal was taken off the board and Lightning remained to lead 2-1.

Questionable call in frantic period

After blocking a shot Alex Killorn took a stick to the face giving the Bolts a crucial power play in the late stages of the period. On the power play Kucherov snipes the puck past Bobrovsky to extend the Lightning lead 3-1 with four minutes to go in the period. However, the Panthers challenged the goal for interference. The goal would stand, and Lightning are then rewarded a power play for the failed challenge. On the power play Paul took his own rebound, dished it to Ross Colton who then buried it for the 4-1 lead. To sum up, a strong yet frantic third period by the Lightning was the difference maker to take Game 1 4-1.  Lightning lead the series 1-0 with to be played Thursday night in Sunrise.


Three stars of the game

1st Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – 33 saves

2nd Star: Nikita Kucherov – 1 goal and 1 assist

3rd Star: Corey Perry – 1 goal and 1 assist


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