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|Tampa Bay Lightning||-1.5
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The Battle for Florida continues as the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to go up 3-0 against the Florida Panthers in a tense Game Three battle. The Panthers finished the season with 12 more points than the Lightning but have struggled in the Playoffs. The Panthers’ offense has been slow in this series and is being outscored 6-2 by Tampa Bay.
Even though the Panthers have struggled in the Playoffs, they had the strongest offense in the league during the season and scored over 4.1 goals a game. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, and Anthony Duclair provided much of their goal-scoring, but they have not been able to score in the Second Round. Other than Huberdeau (who has one goal), none of these players have found the back of the net in this round.
The Panthers had a much easier time scoring in the First Round. They averaged 3.33 goals per game, and their offense was powered by Carter Verhaeghe, Claude Giroux, Aleksander Barkov, and Aaron Ekblad. Verhaeghe went under the radar during the season; he only had 55 points (24 goals and 31 assists) but had 12 points (six goals and six assists) in the First Round. Claude Giroux was traded to the Panthers late in the season and only played 18 games for Florida. That did not matter in the First Round; he finished with three goals and five assists. Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad were quieter but ended with six and five points.
Sergei Bobrovsky has gotten every Playoff start for the Panthers. He has played well, but he could be a lot better. His .906 save percentage is nowhere near the best in the league.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have shocked the Panthers by winning two games on the road. The Lightning do not have as good a roster as they once had, but they do have a lot of Playoff experience that will benefit them as their Stanley Cup run continues.
The Lightning have seen strong performances from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman in the Playoffs. Kucherov has three goals and eight assists, and Hedman has two goals and seven assists.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is maintaining his level of play from the season in the playoffs. He has a .916 save percentage and is allowing 2.6 goals per game. Vasilevskiy needs to continue playing well and depend on his defenseman to help him out.
The Panthers are hungry for a win and will pull out this road victory.
|Florida Panthers||Head-to-Head||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Head Coach||Jon Cooper|
|58-18-6 (1st in Atlantic Division)||Standing||51-23-8 (3rd in Atlantic Division)|
|Carter Verhaeghe (12)||Points||Nikita Kucherov (11)|
|Carter Verhaeghe (6)||Goals||Ross Colton (5)|
|Carter Verhaeghe (6)||Assists||Nikita Kucherov (8)|
|Gustav Forsling (10)||+/-||Brandon Hagel (2)|
|Aleksander Barkov (3.75)||Shots (Per Game)||Victor Hedman (3.44)|
The Florida Panthers need a win desperately but will only win if they score power-play goals and get Jonathan Huberdeau involved.
The Panthers have drawn 25 power-plays in the Playoffs but have not scored once; they are an abysmal 0-25. This needs to change in this game. Florida needs to score at least one power-play goal. Their offense is sputtering right now, and the power-play may be the key to bringing it back.
Jonathan Huberdeau had an incredible regular season but has not been able to bring that dominance into the Playoffs. He scored Florida’s lone goal in their last game but only has four points over his eight Playoff games. Huberdeau needs to get going in this game and become more involved.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will win this game if they win the First Period and shoot a lot.
The Lightning are going home for this Game Three battle. They have the home crowd on their side now and need to use their energy to their advantage. If the Lightning lead at the end of the First Period, their crowd will push them to victory and a 3-0 lead.
The Lightning scored four goals on 30 shots last game. They will likely face a discouraged Sergei Bobrovsky in net for the Panthers and need to shoot as much as possible against him. If they do, he will probably make a mistake and let one or two goals slip in.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been given full control of the goaltender reigns in the Playoffs. He has started every Playoff game, and backup goaltender Spencer Knight has not played at all.
Bobrovsky’s team is struggling to score in the last couple of games, so he needs to be a brick wall and keep the Panthers in the game with strong play.
Steven Stamkos is playing over 18 minutes a game in the Playoffs, but he only has two goals, four assists, and a +/- of -2.
Stamkos has to get more involved and make a positive impact on the ice. His team is playing well, but they will be much better if he steps up his game.
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|Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning Information|
|What||Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Where||Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida|
|When||Sunday, May 22, 1:30 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TNT|
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