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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers Game 2 – Breakdown and Prediction

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers Game 2: Eastern Conference Playoffs – First Round

The Florida Panthers are in the front seat in the opening-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. We are about to watch a great hockey when the two meet again tonight at Amerant Bank Arena.

The Lightning should not be underestimated

Just as we have been used to in the last couple of seasons, the Tampa Bay Lightning came into the playoffs from the bottom half of the top eight teams. They are facing their state rival in the opening round, and the Lightning did not play their best hockey in the 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. They hung on in the first two periods but failed in the last one. Brandon Hagel tied the game in the first period, and Steven Stamkos scored with ten seconds left in the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 stops, but that wasn’t enough for the Lightning.

The Panthers are off to a good start

The Florida Panthers have been among the top teams in the Eastern Conference for a while now, but they are yet to make a significant success in the playoffs. Winning Game 1 of the series against the Lightning is the first time since 1997 for the Panthers to have a 1-0 lead in the opening playoff round. Florida came strong in the final period of Game 1 to make a statement. Carter Verhaeghe scored 33 seconds into the final period to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead and Matthew Tkachuk scored an empty-netter late in the game. Sergei Bobrovsky had 17 saves for the Panthers.

Betting Trends

Florida has won 6 of the last 7 games against Tampa Bay. The Panthers are 5-0 SU in the last five games overall and 6-0 SU in the last six home games. The Lightning have won 5 of the last 7 games against Florida on the road. They are 1-4 SU in the last five games overall and 10-5 SU in the last 15 games on the road.

Prediction and Conclusion

This should be one of the most interesting series in the opening round of the 2024 NHL playoffs. Being from the same state adds some fuel to this matchup, and despite the Panthers taking the lead in the series opener, this series can easily go either way. Nikita Kucherov did not have his best game for the league, and it is expected for him to step up tonight. Leading the league in points did not come easy for the Russian, and he will step up big time, leading the Lightning to the win.

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