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Game 6: Lightning defeat Panthers 4-0 to advance in Stanley Cup playoffs

The defending Stanley Cup champions have a chance to knock their in-state rivals out of the playoffs on home ice.

TAMPA, Fla. — 10:34 p.m.: Lightning move on the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with 4-0 win over the Panthers. Their next opponents will either be the Nashville Predators or the Carolina Hurricanes.

 10:31 p.m.: Lightning pile on the late goals. Bolts up 4-0 with under two minutes left in the third period,

10:25 p.m.: Bolts score again with under five minutes left in Game 6. Lightning lead 3-0 in the third period.

9:28 p.m.: Lightning extend their lead with another goal in the second period. Bolts are up 2-0.

8:18 p.m.: Pat Maroon puts the Lightning on the board. Bolts lead the Panthers 1-0.

8:11 p.m.: Game 6 is underway at Amalie Arena.

Home-ice advantage can be an NHL team's best friend. The Tampa Bay Lightning will have it tonight in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers.

The series has been as intense as you would expect am intrastate rivalry to be. The Bolts and the Panthers have broken out into several fights and accused each other of throwing cheap shots on the ice. (Only one hit, by Florida's Sam Bennett on Tampa Bay's Blake Coleman in Game 1, resulted in a suspension.)

But it hasn't been just about the physicality. Both teams have played a fast game and had a lot of scoring opportunities. 

The Lightning used their high-powered offense to win three of the first four games. But, Panthers rookie goalie Spencer Knight, just two months out of college, stifled the Bolts in Game 5 to hand them a 4-1 defeat. Tampa Bay leads 3-2 in the series going into Game 6.

Should the Bolts best their southern rival, it means getting their ticket punched to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in franchise history.

The puck drop for Game 6 is set for 8 p.m. at Amalie Arena. 

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