Pat Maroon & Ondrej Palat each scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 49 saves for his 7th career playoff shutout as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 2-0 on Monday night at Amalie Arena to complete a four-game sweep & advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Maroon's goal came after a shot from Zach Bogosian was stopped by Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, but the puck popped in the air and the veteran winger batted it down with his stick & it trickled over the line to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at the 6:16 mark of the 3rd period.
Palat added an empty-netter with 22.1 seconds left to seal the deal for the Bolts.
Florida dominated the majority of the 1st period, outshooting Tampa Bay 18-3, but Vasilevskiy stood tall & the game remained scoreless after one.
The Lightning thought they opened up the scoring at 8:44 of the 2nd when Alex Killorn deflected a point shot from Mikhail Sergachev past Bobrovsky, but a lengthy review led to that decision being overturned. The puck apparently hit something out of play right before the Sergachev shot so the game stayed 0-0. It was a weird sequence of events altogether because when the puck initially went into the net, Killorn was the only one who celebrated because the puck was jammed into the padding on the inside of the net. The delayed reaction was all for naught though after the review went against the Lightning.
Just a few moments later, ANOTHER goal was disallowed.
Nikita Kucherov ripped a shot past Bobrovsky right off of the faceoff at 10:32, but after a short review, it was deemed that Anthony Cirelli played the puck back to Kucherov with his hand so the tally was taken off the board.
The Panthers kept pushing and pushing but just could not solve the Tampa Bay netminder.
They outshot the Lightning 34-15 after two, and 49-26 after all was said and done.
This was the first time Florida has been shutout all season and it was Vasilevskiy's 6th shutout in an elimination game.
The Bolts have now won 10 straight playoff series, joining the New York Islanders & Montreal Canadiens (who did it twice) as franchises who have won that many in a row.
Bobrovsky made 24 saves in defeat for Florida.
It's A Family Affair (Again) : One day after Ryan McDonagh's 5 year old daughter Falan was the "Thunder Kid" firing up the crowd before Game 3, Corey Perry's 4 year old son Griffin did the honors before Game 4! (VIDEO BELOW)
- Tampa Bay - Maroon - (Bogosian) - 6:16
- Tampa Bay - Palat - (Cirelli) - 19:37
- Tampa Bay - Cirelli - (Goalie Interference) - 9:26
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Slashing) - 18:35
- Florida - Verhaeghe - (Cross Checking) - 1:56
- Florida - Ekblad - (Interference) - 15:40
- Florida - Barkov - (High Sticking) - 6:32
- Florida - Weegar - (Cross Checking) -
- Tampa Bay - Palat - (Delay of Game) - 17:30
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning now await the conclusion of the Carolina Hurricanes/New York Rangers matchup, with the winner of that series hosting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final sometime in the next 7-10 days. Regardless of the date, each game will be on NewsRadio WFLA & Lightning Power Play on the iHeartRadio app, with the pregame show starting one hour before puck drop.