TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to win the series opener on the road, even though they didn’t play their best game.
The Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 in game one in the first-round best-of-seven series on Sunday.
On Tuesday, the Bolts look to extend their First Round Stanley Cup Playoffs series lead.
If game one was any indication, expect another intense, hard-hitting hockey game tonight.
“Just try to play hard, play honest,” Lightning forward Blake Coleman said. “If guys want to take liberties, then fine. I am more than happy to help our team get on the power play and create chances that way.”
The Bolts capitalized with three power-play goals in game one, two from the triumphant return of Nikita Kuckerov. Not only that, we saw plenty of four-on-four play.
“Not only four-on-four by five-on-three,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “I don’t know if we saw that in the playoffs last year. It happens to us in the first 10 minutes of game one.”
“I think if you asked our players especially our skill guys, they like that extra ice to move the puck a little bit more and create two-on-ones all over the ice,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “Defensively, yeah, it’s a challenge.”
The Panthers are making a change in goal after Sergi Bobrovsky gave up five goals on Sunday. Chris Dreidger gets the start.
“Obviously we are aware of it,” Coleman said. “At the end of the day it’s about creating chances and that’s really all you can focus on is what you’re doing. Against the best goalie in the league the more chances you create the more looks you’re going to have.”
The puck drops for game two at 8 p.m. at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.