Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Florida Panthers 4-1 in Game 1
May 18, 2022
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday. The match marked the second season in a row the Lightning and the Panthers met in the playoffs. Last year, the Lightning won the round 4-2.
Three of the Lightning's goals were penalties. Corey Perry and Nikita Kucherov each recorded one goal and one assist. Likewise, Ross Colton contributed one goal in the match.
The teams were first stuck in a 1-1 tie until Lightning’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored to make it 2-1. This goal came in the third minute of the third period.
The saving goal scored by Jonathan Huberdeau's pass was able to push it to a draw position. The Lightning's Vasilevskiy recorded 33 saves, while Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky scored 32 saves.
"Look at the saves he makes in our time of need,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper of Vasilevsky. According to him, what Vasilevsky did was the best choice a goalkeeper should make in a team.
Vasilevsky is also considered an outstanding player because he has been able to excite the Panthers on multiple occasions. Similarly, the three previous match victories. Last Sunday, he stopped 94 of 99 shots in Game 7 in Toronto, continuing his winning streak.
“He puts in 100% effort every game. He is also the best leader of our team," Kucherov added.
Panthers' defeat against the Lightning
Since 1997, the Panthers have lost 7 Games 1 in a row, including the qualifying rounds of the 2020 season. Duclair acknowledged his opponent's performance and said, “Part of our game plan is to stay out of the box. It has to do with their very lethal playing performance."
“They are too good of a team, a veteran team, and they’re not going to open the door for you,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “We had our opportunities. On to the next game.”
Anthony Duclair shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy in the 14th minute but the goal was annulled. When Duclair scored with a loose puck, the Lightning said the puck slipped out of the net and out of play. By looking at the video review that confirmed the incident, Lightning continued to lead the way and Duclair's goal did not count.
Duclair has responded to the incident, saying “immediately we knew and the coach also told us it wasn't going to be a goal. So we were asked to return to play immediately.” The incident left the Panthers behind and the Lightning remained in the lead.
Brayden Point out of game
Brayden Point was unable to play in the game against the Panthers due to a lower-body injury. He picked up the injury in Game 7 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs while chasing the puck in the offensive zone. His leg twisted as he was about to slide onto the board which made him sit on the bench.
Point recorded four points with two goals and two assists in seven playoff games. He was able to score 58 points from 28 goals and 30 assists in 66 games during the season. Point was among the key players in the Lightning's victory over Toronto in the previous Game.