TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning expect Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev to be good to go for Game 5 against the Florida Panthers.
Their availability was in serious question after both players were injured and did not return in Game 4 on Saturday. Tampa Bay leads the First Round series 3-1 and can now focus on closing it out with a win tonight at the BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale.
“The fourth game is always the hardest one to win,” Lightning forward Pat Maroon said. “We know where are going to get their best tonight. They’ve been playing well, so we have to find ways to get the job done tonight. They are not just going to lay down here.”
With Florida fighting off elimination, setting the tone early will be important. The team that has scored the first goal has won every game this series.
“We want to set the tone by playing to your structure and playing to your strengths,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “The team that can get to their strengths early on and get some looks and capitalizes on them that is going to give you confidence going through the rest of the game.”
A key for the Bolts this series has been the power play. Tampa Bay is putting the puck in the net on 46% of the power-play chances.
Game 5 is set for 8 p.m. in Sunrise.