The Tampa Bay Lightning lose 4-1 to the Florida Panthers in Game 5 inside the BB&T Center.
Ross Colton, who I thought played a pretty good game, scored 53 seconds into the first period to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
However, the Bolts were unable to generate much of anything offensively in the second and third periods. Florida was able to score two in the second and two in the third, including an empty netter.
It was a rare quiet night for Brayden Point, who didn’t even have a shot on goal in his 18:56 of ice time.
Steven Stamkos said postgame, “That’s a really good hockey team. They weren’t just going to roll over and die.” He also said that the Lightning didn’t match the Panthers’ desperation level tonight. Thought they had a good start but penalties came back to hurt them.
Stamkos also said he thought the team played too slow tonight. Forwards didn’t come back to help the defense and were standing around too much, which allowed the Panthers to control the neutral zone.
Head Coach Jon Cooper postgame said that the penalties “killed” his team tonight. “It’s killing us. It’s killing our game. It’s killing our momentum.” He then went on to say, “You can’t keep giving them freebies.”
Cooper said he liked his teams start, but had to kill too many penalties and couldn’t sustain their effort in the final two periods. He also said it was disappointing to give up the second goal late in that second period. “They elevated and we didn’t,” he said.
I will say, Florida’s goalie Spencer Knight did play a heck of a game in his playoff debut. He finished the game with 36 straight saves after allowing the goal on the first shot.
Tampa Bay still leads this series 3-2 and gets its next chance to eliminate Florida and move on to the Second Round on Wednesday, May 26, at Amalie Arena.
Game time for Wednesday’s Game 6 is TBA.