The Panthers continue to impress, this time vs in-state rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In the most recent hockey battle of Florida, the Panthers pulled off one of their most decisive wins against the defending Stanley Cup champs. They improve to 3-0-0 after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1.
Although Tampa was without Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning played a strong team game in both the offensive and defensive zones. They gave the Panthers all they could handle, but the Panthers still prevailed.
While it is only game three of the season, this game could mark a passing of the torch for the best team in Florida. The Lightning have dominated that matchup for the better part of last decade. If this most recent game is any indication, however, the next decade could be very different.
Panthers vs Lightning Game Recap
In the first period, both teams failed to put a puck in the back of the net. Through a combination of good defense and stellar goaltending, the teams went into the first intermission tied at 0.
In the second period, Brandon Montour broke the ice. As a Panthers power play winded down, Anton Lundell won a faceoff. He threw the puck back to Sam Reinhart who tossed it cross ice to Brandon Montour. Montour, wide open on the right side of the ice, capitalized with a beautiful wrister to beat Andrei Vasilevsky glove side. It was the first goal of the season for Montour and the first points for Lundell and Reinhart.
Early in the third period, Brayden Point evened the game for the Lightning. Not even one minute later, the Captain answered. Barkov and his line generated a lot of activity in front of the net, and Barkov tipped it in.
Later in the third, the kid had his moment. A beautiful transition two man game was only outshined by Lundell’s beautiful snipe. His first career goal game on a pass from newcomer Sam Reinhart, and put the Panthers up by two.
Anthony Duclair put in an empty net a few minutes after, extending his goal streak and icing the game for the Panthers vs the Lightning.
- While Penalties are still a problem, Penalty killing is not. The Panthers took 6 penalties and killed off every single one, including an extended 5 on 3. Anton Lundell specifically has shined on the penalty kill.
- The power play still needs work. The Cats failed to score on the man advantage yet again. To remedy this, Coach Q swapped Reinhart for Hornqvist on the top line. This changed seemed to help a bit, but has not bore fruit yet.
- Goalie Spencer Knight continues to live up to the hype. He made 30 saves on 31 shots. That type of performance against this caliber of team at 20 years old is borderline unheard of.
- Rookie Anton Lundell had his best game of his career thus far. Besides the goal and assist. He led the team with over 4 minutes of penalty kill time. He is starting to look like a future all star.
- Sam Reinhart seems to have good chemistry with Lundell on that third line. Undoubtedly a fair bit of talent to keep on a third line, but if it aint broke…
- After a shaky first two games, Radko Gudas had some shutdown penalty kill minutes. They will need more of that from him going forward.
The Panthers play the Avalanche at home on Thursday at 7 P.M. Another good test for this team against another cup contender.