The Florida Panthers pull out an overtime win to take the first two games at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Another tight game that featured a dual between two former Vezina Trophy winners between the pipes for their respective teams.

The Battle of Florida Delivers On Its Intensity

Everyone wanted a thriller between these two teams. They got one, but it didn’t look that way at first. The Panthers came out playing shutdown hockey for the first 20 minutes of play.

Sam Bennett opened the scoring 6:16 into the game and Vladimir Tarasenko tacked on another goal on the power play to make it 2-0 as the onslaught continued. The Panthers outshot the Lightning 13-3 and pinned them in their zone virtually the entire period.

However, the Lightning found a way to answer back in the second period. Brayden Point shot a pass by former Panther, Anthony Duclair, to the back of the net to cut the lead in half. Steven Stamkos tied it up with a power-play goal.

The rest of regulation saw a strong even game. But this game couldn’t find an ending in the first 60 minutes. This battle went into overtime. Carter Verhaeghe won it for the Panthers with a backhand shot from the right of the net.

The Panthers head to Tampa up 2-0 in the series.

Duel of the Goalies

The defensive bout continued into Game 2, but this time it was a hands-down face-off between Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sergei Bobrovsky.

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The highlight of the night game from Bobrovsky with a no-look save that might be the play of the playoffs – so far and going forward. Matt Dumba had a wide-open goal and Bobrovsky threw his body toward the shot to deny the Lightning the go-ahead goal.

Second place on the highlight reel goes to Vasilevskiy’s save on the breakaway. After a Nikita Kucherov turnover, Aaron Ekblad went in on a breakaway with a golden opportunity to put the Panthers back on top. However, Vasilevskiy was able to shut him down.

Both played well enough to win, but Bobrovsky won the duel, and his save will be seen as a key difference-maker in the game and the series. Instead of the Lightning potentially winning and tying up the series, they head back home down 2-0. It’s small (or perhaps rather large) moments like this one that define the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 3 will be on Thursday at Amalie Arena. Puck drop is currently scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern.


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