Tampa, FL (AP) — Steven Stamkos has scored two goals, Nikita Kucherov has one goal and three assists and Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-1 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
Corey Perry and Erik Cernak also scored, while Conn Smythe Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 34 saves, leading the champion to a 3-0 series lead over the NHL’s best-selling Panthers during the regular season as the two-time Stanley Cup defending champion helped me out. season.
Game 4 will take place on Monday night at the Amalie Arena and Lightning have won 3 of their 4 games this postseason. Another win would advance them to the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth time in eight years.
Vasilevskiy has conceded only one goal in four consecutive games after conceding at least three goals each in Tampa Bay’s first six games this postseason. He benefited from that overwhelming stretch as the teammates in front of him helped by putting on an excellent team defense.
Sam Reinhart got off to an embarrassing start with a 25-0 loss into the playoffs for the Panthers’ power play, scoring Florida’s only goal in Game 3.
Sergei Bovrovski blocked 31 of 34 shots, while Perry and Chenak scored shortly after Florida missed penalties in the 1st and 2nd quarters. After receiving a pass from Kucherov, Stamkos made it 3-1 in the middle of the second.
Kucherov and Stamkos added vacant net goals in the final four minutes after the Panthers removed Bobrovsky for an additional striker.
Perry, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent after being part of a team that lost to Lightning in the last two Stanley Cup finals, shoved a Ryan McDonna shot past Wobrovski, giving the defending champion an early lead.
After a 25-0 scoreless playoff game in their first nine playoffs, the Panthers finally broke through, with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov taking Reinhardt to Vasilevskiy in front of the net. to win the tie.
But ultimately Florida paid the price for not taking advantage of other opportunities.
Barkov missed the answer to Cernak’s goal that gave Lightning a 2-1 lead and shot from the post right circle. The Panthers also barely missed the pull in the second period power play, where McDonagh created several opportunities, including Huberdeau’s wide-open look where McDonagh bounced it over the net with a stick.
Florida ended the postseason with a 3-batting average at Manchester United, dropping to 28 at-bat.
Note: Perry scored his 50th playoff goal, beating Brad Marchant and Patrick Bergeron to become the sole sixth active playoff goal leader. … The Lightning won 9-0 in their best-of-seven series and won their first two games, including last year’s first-round win over the Panthers. … Lightning C Braden Point missed three games in a row due to a lower body injury in Game 7 of Tampa Bay against Toronto in the first round.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports