Sunshine State showdown: Lightning take 2-0 series lead, beat Panthers 3-1


Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period in Game 2 of the team’s NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE, Fla. (WFLA) — Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 of 33 shots to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night in Game 2 of their playoff series.

The Lightning shot early and often in the first period outshooting the Panthers 16-9 taking a 2-0 lead to end the period.

Steven Stamkos opened the scoring with his first goal of the playoffs and his first since March 23, while Ondrej Palat scored a goal late into the first period. Yanni Gourde scored an empty-net goal late in the third period.

Mason Marchment had the goal for Florida, which dropped consecutive games on home ice for only the second time this season. The Panthers have never won a series after dropping the first two games, falling on three previous occasions — and now need to win four out of five against the reigning Stanley Cup champions if this will be the season in which it ends a 25-year postseason series win drought.

The Lightning are 28-0-0 this season — including both games of this series — when leading after two periods, and have won 41 such games going back to last season and their run to the Stanley Cup.

Game 3 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in Tampa.

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