The Tampa Bay Lightning finally played a game that we have been waiting to see from this Lightning team for a while now.
Of course, it helps when three of your all-stars are back in the lineup, healthy, and ready to contribute.
It was the Nikita Kucherov show on Sunday as he torched the Panthers for two goals and one assist in his season debut as the Lightning took a one-game to nothing lead in their best of seven series.
Braydon Point also contributed two goals and had the game-winner late in the third period to give the Bolts the win.
It’s always nice to get that first win under your belt and get a little bit of confidence going for the next game. However, these Florida Panthers are a scrappy bunch and will not go away quietly.
Game one was one of the most entertaining hockey games that I have witnessed in a long time. There was everything you wanted in this game. It was physical. There were great saves made by both goalies and lots of end-to-end action.
Jon Cooper talked about what an entertaining game this was in his post-game press conference. “It was quite a hockey game. Two exceptional teams going at it. That’s why it’s the greatest sport in the world. We just witnessed why, that display and those two teams.”
A big key to this lightning win was getting the power play untracked. The Lightning were 3/4 on the power play led by Nikita Kucherov, who had both of his goals on the power play.
Look for that to continue as Joel Quenneville has this Panthers team playing very well at that most critical time of the season.
The Panthers will be without one of their essential playmakers for game two as Sam Bennett has been suspended for tonight’s game for his hit on Blake Coleman in the third period.
Cooper talked about the intense rivalry and the physicality of game one. “It’s the playoffs. Both teams want to win. They want to set a tone. Both teams want to flex. But in the end, you still got to play the game.”
There was a total of 34 penalty minutes in the game evenly doled out between the two teams.
The Panthers have already made a lineup change for the game Tuesday night, as Chris Driedger will replace Sergei Bobrovsky in goal. Quenneville leaned on both goalies this season and, at times, went with the hot hand.
After Bobrovsky allowed the five goals on Sunday night, It looks as if the panthers want to change it up in goal.
You can see tonight’s game starting at 8 PM and will on CNBC.