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Game One Caterwaul: Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning

The Battle of the Sunshine State finally gets real

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Panthers ​(37-14-5 79P) vs Lightning (36-17-3 75P)

  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL
  • ON THE TUBE: NBCSN, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports SUN
  • ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM (D/B), 640 WMEN (PB), 1370 WAXE (TC), Thunder 100.3 (Keys)
  • SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers, #GoBolts, #TBLvsFLA, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
  • ENEMY INTEL: Raw Charge
  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 1 of Best-of-7
  • LAST MEETING: @FLA 4, TBL 0 - (Recap) - 5/10/2021
  • NEXT MEETING: May 18, 2021
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Bobrovsky (19-8-2 .906/ 2.91 0SO) vs Vasilevskiy (31-10-1 .925/ 2.21 5SO)
  • PLAYER STATS: Florida / Tampa Bay

Scouting Report

For the first time ever we will get the Sunshine Showdown in the playoffs as the Florida Panthers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round starting on Sunday. Florida won five of the eight head-to-head games this season, including the last two games of the regular season where the Panthers outscored the Lightning nine to one. The Panthers have now won six in row heading into the playoffs and have a 20-5-3 record at home. During their six-game winning streak they have an average of five goals per game with 40.7 shots and their power play is red hot at 24 percent. In order for the Panthers to win the series they will have to rely on their top two superstars. Jonathan Huberdeau lead the team with 61 points including nine in his last five. Aleksander Barkov also had a great year, leading the team with 26 goals, and he finished strong with six points in his last four games. The Panthers will be getting a boost as Patric Hornqvist will return to the lineup; he led the team with eight powerplay goals. Special teams will be a huge factor in this series and I give the advantage to the Panthers, who have been great with the man advantage this year at 20.5 percent.

Tampa Bay lost three in a row to end the season with an average of 4.07 goals against over those games. The Bolts’ power play dried up at 7.1 percent and their top two goal scorers have struggled of late as Brayden Point had one goal in his last six and Ondrej Palat has no goals in his last five games. This will be a tight series but expect Florida to get out to an early lead with a win at home.

Full preview at Pickswise

Sunday in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Standings/Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • Game 1: MINNESOTA at VEGAS 3 p.m. NBC

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