SUNRISE, Fla. — Brayden Point scored two late goals, including the game-winner with 1:14 left in the third period, to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 5-4 to take Game 1 of their Round 1 playoff series.
The 9,646 fans inside the BB&T Center in Sunrise witnessed the first-ever playoff series between the two in-state rivals. And, the game lived up to its hype. It was fast, physical, included many fights and four game-tying goals.
There were two fights not even four minutes into the game.
Nikita Kucherov scored two power-play goals in his first appearance of the season for the defending Stanley Cup champs, and Blake Coleman had a short-handed goal.
Kucherov also had an assist. It was a strong showing after he missed the regular season due to a hip surgery late last year.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves. Victor Hedman had three assists.
Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists, and Owen Tippitt also recorded a goal and an assist for the Panthers.
Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist, and Carter Verhaeghe scored a goal against his former team.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots. Keith Yandle and Sam Bennett each had two assists for Florida.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday in Sunrise.
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