The defending champions are here. This might be the most electric series of the entire playoffs. For the first time in NHL history, the Battle of Florida has made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Florida Panthers have been one of the most surprising stories of the entire season so far. They have completely surprised everyone with how well they have played. Tampa Bay has had a down year from what we are all used to them doing. Brayden Point and the Lightning are still dangerous when the games matter.
Tonight’s game was the most electric game of the four games played so far in the playoffs. These teams clearly do not like each other at all. This game got out of hand real fast after a few questionable calls from the refs. Brayden Point was next in line to win the Conn Smythe Trophy last season if Victor Hedman wasn’t such a stud. He shows that tonight in game one against the Panthers.
Tampa Bay Gets The Power-Play Working
If one thing is for certain, it is that Tampa Bay is a power-play-based team. Without the power-play, this team would be in trouble. That is a great thing to have in a long playoff run. Nikita Kucherov missed the entire season due to offseason hip surgery. Most people believe he’s been healthy for a long time and Tampa worked their magic to navigate the cap. Whether that is true or not, he is back and producing in a big way.
Florida went up 2-1 after the first period thanks to two goals from Alex Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe. When the second period rolled around, the Lightning power-play went to work. Nikita Kucherov found his scoring touch by scoring two power-play goals to put Tampa Bay up 3-2 after the second period.
The Panthers would respond in the third period. They score two goals early on to go up 4-3. It seemed like Florida would ride that momentum all the way to a game one victory, but Brayden Point is really good at hockey. He finds himself receiving a perfect Kucherov fake shot pass to put it into a wide-open net to tie the game. It was the Lightning’s third power-play goal of the game.
Nikita Kucherov scores in his first game of the year to tie 2-2 pic.twitter.com/L4bIp7sQHW
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 17, 2021
Brayden Point Crushes Panthers
This game had all the signs of going to overtime. After the first three games of these playoffs went the distance, fans were prepared for a late one tonight. You really think Brayden Point wouldn’t have something to say about that. He is the same guy who ended the longest game of the playoffs last year in the fifth overtime. With just over a minute left in this game, Brayden Point gets a clear breakaway on Bobrovsky. He makes no mistake and slips a backhand through the five-hole and Tampa Bay takes game one. Home ice advantage is now taken away from Florida and now they need to regroup. Stay out of the box Florida.
Clutch once again!
— NHL (@NHL) May 17, 2021
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