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Heartbreak in Sunrise hands Lightning a second straight loss

A thrilling battle of goaltending ends in heartbreak for the Lightning as they fall in overtime to go down 0-2 in the series. Heading into game 2 everyone knew this series would come down to goaltending. Both Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy put on a show in Sunrise. Overtime was needed for the first time in these playoffs, but it would not take long for a goal. After an embarrassing first period Tampa came roaring back in the second period. That same period is where all the fun and excitement were to be had. Save after save kept the game close with teams playing conservatively. Ultimately, it was the Panthers who came up on top in overtime to dig a hole for the Lightning to try and come out of.


Challenge gone wrong

Starting off, Lightning began with keeping the puck in the Panthers zone. Unlike game 1 Tampa was hoping to shoot more pucks on net accurately. With five minutes gone by Lightning still had the only good scoring chances to open up the game. They were doing a good job keeping Florida off the puck and moving it out of harms way. Despite this, the Panthers made the first strike and would also get a power play. Sam Bennett scored which was then challenged for goalie interference. There was contact made with Vasilevskiy, but it was not enough to warrant a call. Jon Cooper lost the challenge and Florida went on the man-advantage as a result of the failed challenge. However, Lightning killed off the penalty and then received a power play due to a cross-check from Bennett.

Forget it and look towards the second period

Steven Stamkos nearly tied the game, but the puck went off the post. That would end up being Tampa’s best chance to score as Florida successfully killed off the penalty. Score remained 1-0 with nine minutes left in the first period. To this point Panthers were outshooting the Lightning 6-1. Momentum clearly was with Florida, and they would go back on the power play with 6:44 left. Lightning continued to play sloppy which allowed the Panthers to take control of the game in the opening period. With a few seconds left on the power play Vladimir Tarasenko scores to extend the lead 2-0. Fortunately for Tampa the period ended with the score remaining 2-0.

Signs of life

Lightning were hopeful they would not be embarrassed in the second period and get that spark to turn the tide. Next, Lightning finally strikes early in the period. Brayden Point redirected a shot that fooled Bobrovsky to cut the lead 2-1. Afterwards, Panthers wasted no time going back on the rush and keep the pressure on Tampa’s defense. Minutes later Lightning went on the power play for a second time and tied the game up. A snipe from Steven Stamkos went pass Bobrovsky for the equalizer. Complete night and day for Tampa in the second period which needed to happen in order to stay alive in this game. Erik Cernak was sent off for hooking with 12:02 left which gave Florida their third power play of the night.

Coming back from being down

That power play did not last long as Tarasenko was booked for interference. Prior to the call, Anthony Cirelli went for a short-handed opportunity and fell hard into the boards. He was able to walk off on his own but went to the locker room to be checked out. Earlier Bennett had to go to the locker room after a shot went off his left and has yet to return. Game became more physical which was a surprise to nobody as this is always an entertaining rivalry especially with the score tied. Eventually, Cirelli returned to the ice and the tempo began to rise higher and higher. Goalies brought their A-game, and this became a defensive battle that was to be expected. A thrilling period ends with the score still 2-2.

Goalies remain sharp

To begin, Lightning would get a four-minute power play due to a double minor on Florida for high sticking. Miraculously, Panthers kill off the double minor keeping the score 2-2. Lightning made sloppy passes that gave Florida a couple short-handed opportunities. With 11:56 left in regulation it was the Panthers turn to go on the power play. Only four seconds passed before the power play was nullified due to a slashing call. 4-on-4 followed suit and the energy continued to flow. Goalies continued to be stellar in net with more than half the period already gone.

Off to sudden death

At this point a costly mistake seemed the only way another goal would be scored before the end of regulation. 3:50 was left in regulation with the score still reading 2-2. Teams were playing conservatively as neither wanted to make a mistake. Lightning nearly scored in the closing seconds but once again Bobrovsky made the save to prevent the go-ahead goal. Game 2 would go to overtime, and it was the first game in this year’s playoffs to need overtime.

Short-lived overtime

One question remains, who will be the hero in overtime? Max Crozier made a great block that saved the potential game winner for the Panthers. Unfortunately, Panthers ended up scoring the game-winning goal anyway. Carter Verhaeghe picked apart the defense and scored to secure the 3-2 victory for Florida. Panthers now lead the series 2-0 with the teams heading to Tampa Bay for games 3 and 4. Vasy did all he could to keep the team in there but ultimately the defense fell apart and Panthers came out with the win and decisive series lead.


Three stars of the game

1st star: Sergei Bobrovsky – Saved 21 of 23 shots faced

2nd star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 34 of 37 shots faced

3rd star: Carter Verhaeghe – 1 goal and 1 assist (gwg in OT)

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