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Lightning at Panthers Game 5 Preview

Apr 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) slides into Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) after he was tripped during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Game #5: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: Amerant Bank Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, BSFL, ESPN+, HULU

Opponent’s Site: Litter Box Cats

One Question

Can the Bolts carry their play into Game Five?

We can talk about emotion and desperation ad nauseam, but the fact of the matter is that the main reason the Lightning won on Saturday is that they executed their game plan better. Yes, there was an emotional boost from seeing Mikhail Sergachev back on the ice, but once the puck dropped and the hits started flying, the play on the ice was what mattered.

With the exception of the first 15 minutes of the second period, the Lightning were able to exit their zone a lot cleaner than they had in the previous three match-ups. That allowed them a little more freedom through the neutral zone which allowed them to attack the Florida defense with more speed. Case in point, Brandon Hagel’s second goal of the game.

The Bolts were able to transition out of their own zone quickly and through the neutral zone. The Panthers’ defense backs off, especially when Anthony Cirelli drives toward the net. With the defense drifting backwards, there is space for Mikhail Sergachev to feed the puck over to Hagel. With a gap between the defense and the backchecker, Hagel has even more room to cruise to the slot before firing it home.

There was no bobbling the puck around in their own zone or sketchy passing. One of the drawbacks of an aggressive forecheck is that forwards can get caught chasing the play if the defense clears the puck out quickly. That happened a few times to the Panthers and the Lightning took advantage. When Tampa Bay is quick and concise with their first few passes, it doesn’t take long for them to get up ice.

There really isn’t much difference between today’s games and Saturday’s. The Bolts can’t leave anything on the ice if they want to keep playing. If they want to make things easier on them, they will keep their breakouts clean and quick.


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Steven Stamkos- Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Anthony Duclair – Anthony Cirelli – Brandon Hagel
Mikey Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Mitchell Chaffee

Tanner Jeannot – Luke Glendening – Tyler Motte

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh Matt Dumba
Mikhail Sergachev – Erik Cernak
Emil Lilleberg – Max Crozier

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Matt Tomkins

Florida Panthers Projected Lines

Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe – Anton Lundell – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Kevin Stenlund – Evan Rondrigues

Nick Cousins – Steven Lorentz – Kyle Okposo

Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman- Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov

Sergey Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz

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