Panthers (27-12-5 59P) vs Lightning (29-12-2 60P)
- WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET
- WHERE: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
- ON THE TUBE: Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports SUN, ESPN+
- ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM (D/B), 640 WMEN (PB), 1370 WAXE (TC), Thunder 100.3 (Keys)
- SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers, #GoBolts, #FLAvsTBL, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
- ENEMY INTEL: Raw Charge
- FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 6 of 8 (2-2-1)
- LAST MEETING: @TBL 3, FLA 2 - (Recap) - 4/15/2021
- NEXT MEETING: May 8, 2021
- PROJECTED STARTERS: Bobrovsky (15-7-2 .907/ 2.85 0SO) vs Vasilevskiy (26-6-1 .932/ 2.00 4SO)
- PLAYER STATS: Florida / Tampa Bay
The battle of Florida and the battle of the Central division will take place on Saturday between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. These teams have been neck and neck all season, but Tampa has arguably been the better team. The defending Stanley Cup Champions have a solid +36 goal differential, the best in their division and the third best in the league, while the Panthers have a respectable +18 goal differential which doesn’t even put them in the top 10. The Lightning’s stellar home record of 16-4-0 is attributed to their elite offense and solid goaltending. Their starting goaltender has literally been unbeatable on home ice. Andrei Vasilevskiy is 14-0-0 at home this season, he should be giving the fans of Florida another great home ice performance. In his 14 games at home, he’s only allowed 21 goals, posting an unbelievable 1.50 GAA and .946 SVP with two shutouts. It doesn’t matter who the Panthers start in the crease when they’re going head to head against Vasilevskiy on home ice, luck is not in the visiting team’s favor.
Offensively, both teams have some talented weapons, but the Lightning may still have the edge. They’re averaging the third most goals per game with 3.37 and have the fifth best powerplay. The Panthers’ goals per game and powerplay don’t even rank them in the top 10. Tampa has also been shooting the puck extremely well. They have the third best shooting percentage scoring on 11.2% of shots while the Panthers barely make the top 20, scoring on 9.2% of shots. The Lightning have won their last two games against Florida this season, and have split their season series 3-2. Tampa should be able to add another victory here on Saturday night and continue climbing the ladder of the Central division
Full preview at Pickswise
Saturday in the Central (Standings/Panthers Playoff Chances):
- NASHVILLE (24-20-1 49P) at CAROLINA (28-10-4 60P) 7 p.m.
- CHICAGO (20-19-5 45P) at DETROIT (16-23-6 38P) 7 p.m. NHL Network
- COLUMBUS (15-21-9 39P) at DALLAS (16-14-12 44P) 8 p.m.
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