NHL: Florida Panthers Hang On for 3-2 Win over Tampa Bay Lightning

By Mike Bonts, Florida Sports Wire Hockey Writer

SUNRISE – The Tampa Bay Lightning made it close in their 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers Sunday afternoon in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Florida’s Carter Verhaeghe broke a tie with a power-play goal early in the third period. He redirected Aleksander Barkov’s feed from the right face-off circle just 58 seconds into the third.

Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist, and Barkov had two assists for the Panthers. Sam Reinhart gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 6:17 of the first period.

Trailing 1-0, Brandon Hagel put the Lightning on the board, scoring after a rebound found his stick in the slot. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos recorded his first goal and assist of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the 26 multi-point game of his playoff career and his first since Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves on the 27 shots he faced. Sergei Bobrovsky made 17 saves.

Tampa Bay was outshot 28-19, including a 13-9 deficit in the third period.

This matchup features two experienced coaches: Florida’s Paul Maurice (869 wins) and Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (525 wins. It marks the first time since 2021 that two coaches with over 500 wins each will meet in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The clubs meet for game two Tuesday in Sunrise.






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