Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning | Game 2 Recap

Bobrovsky's no look save on Dumba in the second period. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

If viewers thought Game 1 was good in the Battle for Florida, Game 2 was somehow even better. The goalie saves were outrageous, and tensions are already getting even more heated. Regulation wasn’t enough this time around as the game headed into overtime. For those unfamiliar, playoff overtime works differently than the regular season; teams play another full 20-minute period with no shootout instead of five minutes of 3v3 and then a shootout. Unfortunately for the Florida Panthers, they didn’t escape the game fully intact as Sam Bennett took a friendly fire shot from Brandon Montour that hit him in the hand, causing him to exit the game and not return. Per HC Paul Maurice’s interview on Wednesday morning, Bennett is expected to be out for at least a week and will not play games 3 & 4. Once again, Carter Verhaeghe came up big during overtime and scored to give Florida the 3-2 win and a 2-0 series lead as they head to Tampa Bay for Thursday’s game.

Unbelievable Goaltending:

Heading into this series, it was well known that viewers were going to be in for a treat with the quality of goaltending between the two games. Tuesday night featured one save in particular that’s gone viral throughout the hockey sphere on social media – Sergei Bobrovsky’s no-look spin save on Dumba that robbed the Tampa Bay Lightning of a goal that would have given them the lead. It was easily the highlight of the night and got both the Florida bench and Panthers’ fans fired up. It felt like a big momentum swing play that led to Florida going back on the offensive and pressuring Andrei Vasilevskiy at the other end. That wasn’t the only big save Sergei Bobrovsky made Tuesday night, but it was the most memorable. He made other robbing saves on players like Point, Kucherov, and Stamkos; Bob also came up with big saves in the third period when the Lightning got a four-minute powerplay off a high-sticking double minor caused by Luostarinen. It was a full-on goaltending show from both Florida and Tampa Bay, but so far in the series, the Panthers have been on the positive end and been able to get just one more goal past Vasilevskiy to take both wins in Sunrise.

Penalty Kill Went To Work:

In my last recap, I mentioned how disciplined the Cats were and didn’t take many penalties to keep Tampa off its dangerous power play. That was not as much the case in Game 2 as the Lightning got six power plays and converted one into a goal early in the second period. The biggest kill of the night came early in the third period when Eetu Luostarinen got called for a high-sticking double minor. Having him in the box is a big loss on the PK as he’s on the top unit and has become one of the team’s best penalty killers this season. Forsling also was integral to the penalty killing and he made good plays to break up the Lightning passes and cleared the zone multiple times. The Panthers blocked more shots this game with 15 and only allowed four more SOG for Tampa, so the defense was still frustrating the Lightning offense. Over the last month and a half of the regular season Florida has been on the bad end of penalty calls so the PK Units have had plenty of time to get comfortable with each other and killing penalties. They’re also aggressive and will go for a shorty if the opportunity arises. All in all it was a good effort from the PK Units that kept Tampa from fully utilizing its most dangerous weapon, the power play.

Overtime Heroics:

Two games in and it’s already been a very hard fought battle between the Panthers and the Lightning. Regulation wasn’t enough time to declare a winning and so to overtime game 2 went. Florida is no stranger to OT in the playoffs; everyone knows about all the OT games they played in last season’s playoffs. This is a team that has been there and done that and is just as comfortable playing in OT as they are at any other time. Plenty of Panthers could’ve scored to end things, but only one does it so consistently in the Playoffs, Carter Verhaeghe. He’s currently tied for most OT-winner goals amongst active players with five OT goals. In the 14 overtime playoff games he’s played in, he’s scored the winner five times and has been a go-to player for Florida in the big moments, which is where he thrives. Matthew Tkachuk made a play off the wall to Lundell, who had about four different players on him, but he was still able to make a clean pass through all that traffic to Verhaeghe, who was at the front of the net. Verhaeghe’s patience paid off as Vasilevskiy eventually ended up down and out of position giving Verhaeghe a mostly open net to shoot at. He put the puck in just under the crossbar to end it with a 3-2 win for the Panthers. Everyone involved in that play did something great to make the goal possible, and fans shouldn’t underestimate what Lundell’s capable of. I said in the series preview that he’d be one to watch, and a great pass like that in a big moment shows just how much he quietly contributes to the team. Game 3 is set for Thursday in Tampa at 7 pm EST/6 pm CT.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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