SUNRISE, Fla. — After a physical Game 1 victory over the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Tuesday night.
Game 1 of the series was filled with penalties early and often. Those penalties put the Lightning on the power play and the team capitalized with three PP goals, two of them coming off the stick of returning superstar Nikita Kucherov. Overall, the Lightning finished 3 for 4 on the power play in Game 1 of the series.
“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 one’s all over the ice,” said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “Defensively, yeah, it’s a challenge.”
The Panthers had a big problem at goalie in Game 1. The Panthers started Sergei Bobrovsky and he proceeded to allow five goals on 40 shots, two of those coming in the third period. So, Florida coach Joel Quenneville pulled his Game 1 starter and will replace him in Game 2 with Chris Driedger.
He’s gone 14-6-3 with a 2.07 goals-against average this year and a .927 save percentage. He’s been especially effective against the Lightning this year, going 2-0-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average.
Florida also will be without center Sam Bennett after he was suspended for boarding Lightning forward Blake Coleman. He had two assists in Game 1 and scored 15 points in 10 games after he was acquired by the Panthers from Calgary. NHL.com reported Alex Wennberg will move into Bennett’s center position on the second line.
The puck drops in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Sunrise, Florida at the BB&T Center.