Nikita Kucherov & Alex Killorn each had four points & Andrei Vasilevskiy made 39 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena to take a 3-1 series lead in their best-of-seven first-round matchup.
Unlike the last game where the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, the Lightning were the ones to get on the board first in this one.
Anthony Cirelli scored on Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky on a breakaway after a nifty pass from his linemate Killorn at the 3:00 mark to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
Yanni Gourde then made it 2-0 at 7:24 with a beautiful tip in front off of a Kucherov shot from the point.
Florida answered right back 1:25 later after Gourde was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct & Jonathan Huberdeau scored on the ensuing power play to make it 2-1.
The Lightning extended their lead with just 3:15 left in the opening period when it was Ondrej Palat this time with the deflection in front. The Tampa Bay winger deflected a point shot from Erik Cernak and the Bolts went up 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Bolts went ahead 5-1 in the second period when Killorn scored goals 1:34 apart, the first coming on the power play at 5:41. Following Killorn's second goal, Bobrovsky was pulled in favor of Chris Driedger.
Florida tried to get back into the game with a Carter Verhaeghe power play goal at 18:45 of the middle stanza, but Kucherov's fourth point of the night -- a power play goal at 4:47 of the third -- sealed the deal for Tampa Bay.
Unfortunately it wasn't all good news for Kucherov, as he went to the locker room and did not return after being slashed in the knee by Anthony Duclair near the midway point of the third.
This game got out of hand late as Mikhail Sergachev was helped off the ice after a brutal hit by Patric Hornqvist and multiple players, including Hornqvist, were assessed 10-minute misconduct penalties.
- Tampa Bay - Cirelli - (Killorn, Cernak) - 3:00
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Kucherov, Sergachev) - 7:24
- Florida - PPG - Huberdeau - (Hornqvist, Bennett) - 8:49
- Tampa Bay - Palat - (Cernak, Kucherov) - 16:45
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Killorn - (Kucherov, Hedman) - 5:41
- Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Stamkos, Cirelli) - 7:15
- Florida - PPG - Verhaeghe - (Barkov, Huberdeau) - 18:45
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Kucherov - (Stamkos, Killorn) - 4:47
- Florida - Huberdeau - (Roughing) - 2:23
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Roughing) - 2:23
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) - 7:55
- Florida - Duclair - (Holding) - 4:27
- Tampa Bay - Maroon - (Roughing) - 8:23
- Florida - Verhaeghe - (Interference) - 8:37
- Tampa Bay - Cernak - (Roughing) - 8:56
- Tampa Bay - Sergachev - (Roughing) - 13:41
- Florida - Lomberg - (Roughing) - 13:41
- Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Hooking) - 15:36
- Tampa Bay - Sergachev - (Roughing) - 17:45
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Goalie Interference) - 19:27
- Florida - Gudas - (Elbowing) - 4:00
- Tampa Bay - Rutta - (Cross Checking) - 8:23
- Florida - Hornqvist - (Slashing) - 9:58
- Florida - Duclair - (Slashing) - 10:57
- Florida - Hornqvist - (10 Minute Misconduct) - 16:24
- Tampa Bay - Maroon - (10 Minute Misconduct) - 16:24
- Tampa Bay - Colton - (10 Minute Misconduct) - 16:24
- Florida - DOUBLE MINOR - Lomberg - (Roughing) - 16:24
- Florida - Lomberg - (10 Minute Misconduct) - 16:24
What's Next For the Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Monday night down in Sunrise as they take on the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of this best-of-seven first-round matchup. Puck drop is slated for 8pm with the pregame show at 7pm on NewsRadio WFLA.
PHOTO : Getty Images