NHL

Panthers vs Lightning: 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs preview, odds, pick in all-Florida clash

Panthers Lightning
Apr 24, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) has blood coming down his eyebrow after fighting Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg (94) during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals: Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

How To Watch

Game Date Time (ET) Host TV
1 Tuesday, May 17 7 p.m. FLA TNT
2 Thursday, May 19 7 p.m. FLA TNT
3 Sunday, May 22 1:30 p.m. TBL ESPN
4 Monday, May 23 7 p.m. TBL TNT
5* TBD FLA
6* TBD TBL
7* TBD FLA

*If necessary

Tale of the Tape (regular season stats)

Panthers STAT Lightning
58-18-6 (122 pts) Record 51-23-8 (106 pts)
4.16 (1st in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.52 (7th)
2.99 (T-12) Goals Allowed Per Game 2.81 (6th)
+94 Goal Differential +54
34-7-0 Home, 24-11-6 Away Home/Away Record 27-8-6 Home, 24-15-2 Away
24.14% (7th) Power Play 23.64% (9th)
79.77% (15th) Penalty Kill 80.88% (12th)
2021-22 Head-To-Head: Season series tied 2-2
How they got here: Lightning def. Maple Leafs in 7 games, Panthers def. Capitals in 6 games

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Florida leaders

Gustav Forsling, right wing Claude Giroux, center Carter Verhaeghe and center Aleksander Barkov, from left, celebrate Giroux’s goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period of Game 6 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Carter Verhaeghe, LW: 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points in first round vs. WSH
  • Claude Giroux, RW: 3 goals, 5 assists, 7 points in first round vs. WSH
  • Sergei Bobrovsky, G: 4-2, .906 SV%, 2.79 GAA in first round vs. WSH

Tampa Bay leaders

Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman (77) carries the puckinto the offensive zone against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
  • Nikita Kucherov, RW: 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points in first round vs. TOR
  • Victor Hedman, D: 2 goals, 5 assists, 25:42 TOI in first round vs. TOR
  • Ondrej Palat, LW: 3 goals, 2 assists, 27.3% shooting in first round vs. TOR

 

Who needs to step up

  • Andrei Vasilevskiy, G (TBL): 4-3, .897 SV%, 3.04 GAA in first round vs. TOR
  • Anthony Duclair, LW (FLA): 0 goals, 2 assists, healthy scratch in Game 6 during first round vs. WSH

 

Key injuries

  • Mason Marchment, F (FLA): Out for Game 1 (lower-body injury)
  • Brayden Point, C (TBL): Questionable (lower-body injury)

Series Odds

  • FLA to win: -150
  • TBL to win: +130

*Courtesy of DraftKings, for more, click here.

Series Prediction

Panthers win in 7 games (4-3)

  • We have an All-Florida Eastern Conference semifinal with no love lost between these two sides. The two bitter Atlantic Division rivals are no strangers to fisticuffs or meaningful games. The Lightning eliminated the Panthers in the first round last season on their way to a second-straight Stanley Cup title.
  • The Panthers have finally gotten over the hump in the playoffs, winning their first playoff series since 1996 with a six-game triumph over the Washington Capitals.
  • This is an enormous opportunity for the Panthers to make a statement that they should be taken seriously as the NHL’s best regular season. Knocking off a team that has given them fits in the past and the two-time defending champions will only help stake that claim.
  • The Lightning, though, is a team that just knows how to win. Despite Point’s injury, shaky play from Vasilevskiy, and not a ton of production from Steven Stamkos, Tampa found a way to get past a high-powered Maple Leafs team thanks to a solid defense.
  • Florida’s offense provides another significant challenge considering they were the NHL’s top-scoring team this season. But they didn’t click in the first round against Washington. Jonathan Huberdeau (115 points in ’21-22) had just three points in six games while 30-goal scorer Anthony Duclair was benched for Game 6.
  • Given the cracks that have been shown in the Lightning’s foundation, though, this feels like the year that the Panthers can exorcise yet another demon.

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