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Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Florida Panthers, 2-1, in Game 2

Ross Colton scored with four seconds to go in the third period to seal the win.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning sure knows how to keep things interesting. The Bolts scored in the final four seconds to nab the 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the series.

The Bolts now lead the series, 2-0. It's a turnaround feeling from Round 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs where the Stanley Cup Playoff series was a back-and-forth battle each game.

Wednesday night's game started off in the Bolts' favor after Corey Perry scored first in the first period. The Panthers struck back during the second period to tie the game and overtime looked highly favorable with even just one minute left on the clock. 

That's until Ross Colton put the puck in the net with four seconds to go. Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat were credited with the assist. The Lightning avoided overtime and can look forward to a home game at Amalie Arena on Sunday, May 22. 

Original story: Sunset arrived early in Sunrise after the Tampa Bay Lightning controlled the tempo in Game 1 beating Florida, 4-1.

This was a grimy contest. A pace played at Tampa Bay's speed where patience prevailed.

After a rocky start with Toronto, the Bolts are starting to look like the two-time defending champs everyone feared entering the season. With the victory on Tuesday night, the squad has now won three straight playoff games and has a chance to put the Panthers in serious danger heading back to AMALIE Arena on Sunday with a 2-0 series lead.

"They're a great team and they force you to do the little things right," Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette said. "They're patient enough and smart enough that they wait you out a little bit."

Entering Thursday's matchup, we could see a bit more nastiness on the ice. The rivals opted to pass on the extra-curricular activities and the Florida Panthers might need to take a swing or two to get their mojo back. Brunette said he wanted his team to play disciplined entering this series, but that did not happen as they conceded sloppy penalties all night.

The Lightning capitalized on 3-of-6 power plays, including Nikita Kucherov's highlight-reel assist to Corey Perry to even the contest up at 1-1. Remember, the Bolts scored on 8-of-20 power plays last year in the six-game series win.

"We all know what to do," Selke Trophy finalist Sasha Barkov said. "It should not be a big problem [moving forward]."

With Brayden Point out again in Game 2, Kucherov will have to continue to be an engine for this Lightning team. Last year, the former Hart Trophy winner scored 11 points against the Panthers in six games. He is off to another hot start against Florida and that play in the second period set the tone for the rest of the contest.

"He still can make plays that kind of leave you speechless & that was one of them," Bolts captain Steve Stamkos said. "I think if you just look at the reaction of the guys on the ice, everyone was like, 'Did he just really do that?'"

Meanwhile, Florida is not going to win this series if they cannot score on the power play. They are 0-for-21 in the postseason and it is clearly affecting this team.

"We're at a sink a little bit," Brunette said. "When you have the puck in certain situations you got to make a play and find a way to make a play and we haven't done that yet."

The No. 1 thing the Bolts need to focus on entering Game 2 is remaining committed to blocking shots. They deflected 16 shots on Tuesday. It is no coincidence Andrei Vasilevskiy's play has surged recently when players have gotten in front of pucks.

"Does it get contagious? It does," Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said. "It's not a fun place to be (on the bench) if you're not going to be willing to do that. So, guys get in line in that regard."

Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Thursday night inside FLA Live Arena at Sunrise. The Tampa Bay Lightning have never lost a series when leading 2-0.

Game Blog 

3rd period

FINAL: Lightning 2 | Panthers 1

19:56 Corey Perry scores, assisted by Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

2nd period

18:07 Eetu Luostarinen scores for the Panthers, assisted by Claude Giroux and Gustav Forsling

1st period

12:06 Corey Perry scores on a power play, assisted by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman

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