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Vasilevskiy Shuts Door, Lightning Sweep Panthers

(Photo via TBLightning/twitter)

By Michael Wax

2022 Playoffs: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 2-0 in game four of their conference semifinal matchup, taking the series 4-0 and moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Game Summary

1st Period

With the second game in two days and a chance to close the series out, Coach Cooper elected to make no lineup changes. The first period saw what was to be expected: a heavy push by the Panthers, and the Lightning looking like they had played the night before. Though the shots on goal were 18-3 in favor of Florida in the first, the Lightning had their chances that missed the net, most noticeably a Nick Paul backhander that sailed wide.

While Vasilevskiy made 18 first period saves (and 49 overall) a lot of the chances were stopped easily because of his great positioning.

2nd Period

After a sluggish start, the Lightning had a very productive middle frame. In what looked to be the game's opening goal, Alex Killorn tipped a Mikhail Sergachev shot past Sergei Bobrovsky and into the net. However, after a nine minute long review, it was determined that the puck had gone out of play prior to Sergachev's shot.

Less than two minutes later, the Lightning appeared to have scored on a wrist shot from Nikita Kucherov. This goal would also be called back because it was determined that Anthony Cirelli had used his hand to win the faceoff.

The Lightning certainly picked up their game in the second, as shots and chances were much more even.

3rd Period

Win the third period, win the series. The Lightning understood that message, and came out firing. Their willingness to fire shots on net paid off with around 14 minutes left to go. After the Panthers turned the puck over in the defensive zone, Zach Bogosian fired a shot on net with a streaking Pat Maroon providing a moving screen. The puck bounced off Bobrovsky and popped up in the air, where Maroon got a stick on it to guide it into the net. Bobrovsky's skate gave it the final push, and the Lightning grabbed a 1-0 lead.

The Lightning did a good job of limiting the Panthers chances to the outside, giving Vasilevskiy an easy time in his shutout performance. With just over 2:30 left to play, Palat fired the puck out of play and gave the Panthers a power play with the extra attacker. The Bolts put together a fantastic penalty kill, with Vasilevskiy making some big saves and Anthony Cirelli putting his body on the line. Right after the penalty ended, Cirelli fired the puck around 140 feet to the other end of the ice, where a streaking Ondrej Palat was there to grab it and fire it home for the 2-0 lead and the series victory.

The Lightning will have to wait until the end of the Carolina Hurricanes/New York Rangers series ends to see who their Eastern Conference Finals opponent will be.

Game Stats

Our Three Stars

1. Vasilevskiy (TBL): 49-save shutout

2. Kucherov (TBL): Series-winning goal

3. Bobrovsky (FLA): 23 saves on 25 shots

Media's Three Stars

1. Vasilevskiy (TBL): 49-save shutout

2. Kucherov (TBL): Series-winning goal

3. Bobrovsky (FLA): 23 saves on 25 shots

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