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The Tampa Bay Lightning Have Pushed The Florida Panthers Into A Deep Hole

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

After all their wins, their Presidents’ Trophy season and record-breaking offence, their upgraded lineup and first playoff series victory in 26 years, the Florida Panthers are precisely where they were last year against the Tampa Bay Lightning: down 2-0 in the playoffs after getting swept on home ice.

The only difference, after Tampa’s buzzer-beating 2-1 win Thursday in Sunrise, Fla., is that this is the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs, not the first. It looks like it will be as far as the Panthers get in the Stanley Cup tournament.

In 82 regular-season games — 58 of them wins — the highest-scoring team in the NHL’s salary-cap era scored fewer than two goals only three times. They did it twice in three days against the Lightning, who don’t have the talent they boasted while winning the last two Stanley Cups but possess infinitely more playoff knowhow than the Panthers.

“It's just amazing what this group can continue to fight through,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “Obviously, we knew they were going to push. And they pushed, they played a great game. But we bent, we didn't break.

“You want to win every game and you come on the road with that mentality. You want to steal one for sure; that's definitely the mindset. But when you get that first one, we talked about, ‘Let's get greedy here.’ We did it last year — we came in and won the first two. There's no taking a breath now. We did our job here in an environment that is tough, obviously, to win in. (But) let's stay focused. Let's regroup, let's get some guys a little more healthy, but let's keep the foot on the gas.”


Game highlights are below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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