Stamkos, Kucherov lead Lightning past Panthers 5-1 in Game 3

Tampa, Fla. (AP) – Steven Stamkos has scored two goals and Nikita Kucherov has one goal and three assists and Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-1 to go to the brink of another trip to the finals. Eastern Conference on Sunday.

Corey Perry and Erik Cernak also scored, and defending Conn Smythe Trophy champion Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves to give the two-time Stanley Cup champions a 3-0 lead over the Panthers, who have a good record. NHL in the official competition time. Season.

Game 4 comes on Monday night at Amalie Arena, where the Lightning has won three of its four games this season. Another win would take them to the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth time in eight years.

Vasilevskiy conceded just one goal for the fourth straight game after conceding at least three goals in each of Tampa Bay’s first six games after this season. He was helped during that period of dominance, as teammates ahead of him helped by playing excellent team defence.

Sam Reinhart scored Florida’s only goal in game 3, starting the game confusingly 0 for 25 into the knockout stages for the Panthers power play.

Sergei Bobrovsky saved 31 of 34 shots, with Perry and Cernak both scoring just minutes after Florida missed penalties in the first and second half. Stamkos’ one pass from Kucherov made it 3-1 midway through the second half.

Kucherov and Stamkos scored more goals into an empty net in the final four minutes after the Panthers eliminated Bobrovsky for one more attacking player.

Perry, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent after being part of the teams that lost the Lightning in the past two Stanley Cup Finals, re-directed Ryan McDonagh’s shot overtake Bobrovsky to put the defending champion early ahead.

The Panthers, on a 0 win 25 strength playing through their first nine playoffs, eventually overcame to draw 1-all with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov setting up Reinhart to beat Vasilevskiy from front of the net.

Ultimately, however, Florida paid the price for not being able to take advantage of other opportunities.

Barkov just missed Cernak’s answer, gave Lightning a 2-1 lead, and fired a shot from the right circle that went wide of the post. The Panthers also came close to not pulling even in a powerhouse game in the second inning creating a number of chances, including Huberdeau’s wide gaze causing McDonagh to hit the ball off the net with his bat. .

Florida finished 1 to 3, dropping to 1 to 28 in human favors after this season.

NOTE: With his 50th career playoff goal, Perry overtook Brad Marchant and Patrick Bergeron to claim the only sixth spot among career playoff goalscorers. … The Lightning are 9-0 in a best-of-seven series they’ve won in their first two games, including last year’s first-round win over the Panthers. … Lightning C Brayden Point missed the third game in a row due to a lower body injury sustained during Tampa Bay’s 7th game win over Toronto in the first round. Stamkos, Kucherov lead Lightning past Panthers 5-1 in Game 3

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