The Tampa Bay Lightning put on a clinic tonight to finish off the Florida Panthers, 4-0, to win the series in six games and advance to the Second Round. That’s the way a championship team closes out a series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was absolutely fantastic with the shutout, his second career playoff shutout. Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Pat Maroon and Alex Killorn all with goals. All four deserve to be a star tonight.
Lightning clinch their first playoff series at Amalie Arena since a 2018 Second Round series against the Boston Bruins.
Steven Stamkos postgame said tonight was the best effort “by far” for the Bolts in the biggest game of the postseason. Said that’s the hallmark of a championship team. “It was almost just a clinical game in terms of executing the game plan. It was great to be part of that effort tonight.”
Stamkos said Barclay Goodrow was extremely physical tonight in his first game back from injury and was a huge part of the team’s success tonight. “He was outstanding tonight.”
Head Coach Jon Cooper postgame said: “The boys played like champions tonight.”
Cooper said that Florida’s power play was “like two minutes of cardiac arrest.” He said they got through the two Florida power plays in the second period because of a complete team effort from the penalty killers through to Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning will either play the Nashville Predators or the Carolina Hurricanes in the Second Round. Carolina leads the series 3-2, with game 6 being tomorrow night at 8:30 PM (Central Time) on NBCS.
The Second Round start date will be determined on whether the Carolina/Nashville series gets closed out in 6 games or if it goes the full 7.
I’m personally rooting for it to go 7, because I want the Predators to win the series.