Lightning Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead

Lightning

Andrei Vasilevskiy

 

 

It is now a Mount Everest climb for the Florida Panthers. What an embarrassing effort on home ice in a must-win game two against Tampa Bay. I feel bad for people that paid to get into this game for Panthers fans. Tampa Bay is clearly showing why they are the defending champions from last season. Their veteran leadership is playing a huge role in slowing down this young Panthers team. When you are in the playoffs, veteran presence is key to a long playoff push. The Lightning team certainly has that in their favor.

I’m not saying Florida played a horrific game, but the effort should have been much better in a game like this. It is bad enough to lose the way they did in game one, but to potentially go down 2-0 is brutal. This is especially when you earned home-ice advantage for the first-ever Battle of Florida in the playoffs. Tonight, Tampa showed why they were still the favorites heading into the beginning of this series.

 

Tampa Dominates First Period

After losing in the fashion they did in game one, Florida was destined to come out flying to start this game. It seems that the late goal by Brayden Point in game one really deflated their spirits heading into this game. Early on in this game, it was a dominating effort from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos gets on the scoresheet thanks to a lucky bounce off of Anton Stralman. They were not done there though.

Ondrej Palat gets lost in all the star power on this Lightning team. When you have names like Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman leading the way, you might get lost in the background. With Palat, he was a huge part of the Lightning’s success in last years Stanley Cup run. He continues tonight by finding a rebound off the post from Brayden Point. Even though the follow-up shot wasn’t pretty, it was effective and Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead into the second period.

 

 

Vasilevskiy’s Bounce-Back Effort

Andrei Vasilevskiy had a rough go for game one of this series. He allowed four goals to the Panthers and almost blew a third-period lead to lead to a loss. The team bailed him out and tonight he re-paid the favor. Last season, Vasilevskiy showed why he is one of the best goaltenders in the entire league. He never gets phased after a rough performance and always seems to bounce back when it matters for the Lightning.

It must help when you finally get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup. Your confidence skyrockets into space when that happens, especially when you are the starting goaltender. Vasilevskiy made it count tonight as he stopped 32 of 33 shots and helps lead Tampa Bay to a 2-0 series lead as they head back home.

 

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