We will have some Game 2 Eastern Conference Semifinals action on Thursday evening as we have the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers squaring off inside of the FLA Live Center in Sunrise, Florida. This game will be important as the Panthers do not want to lose two straight home games and have their back against the wall. The puck drops at 7pm EST.
Champa Bay?The Tampa Bay Lightning would head home up 2-0 and begin thinking about a potential sweep here. They are being led by center Steven Stamkos so far and he has been doing pretty well as he scored five points so far during the playoffs. They are coming off a 4-1 road win against the Florida Panthers. Their biggest positive was their ability to score three goals in the third period to dominate the game. The two-time champs seem to be hitting their stride at the right moment in his Sunshine State battle.
Leading their scoring output in the game was right winger Nikita Kucherov, who scored a goal and an assist in the game and was one of two players to score multiple points in this game. The defense has been playing at a putrid level as they are allowing 31.3 shots and are giving up 3.13 goals per game, which is seventh in the playoffs. If the defense can step up, it will be a great sign for the team.
Beast in the EastThe Florida Panthers have been dominant so far before a tough game one loss sets up a huge Game 2 win to split the two games at home. They are being led by left winger Jonathan Huberdeaui so far and has scored four points (one goal, three assists) thus far up to this point of the postseason. They are coming off a 4-1 home loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The biggest issue was the fact that they allowed three power play goals on six attempts.
Leading the offense in the game was left winger Anthony Duclair, as he finished with a goal and a pair of assists and was one of three players to record a point. The defense needs to improve here as they are allowing 31.1 shots against them and are giving up 3.29 goals per game, which is ninth in the NHL Playoffs. If they can figure out how to defend better than average here, they can continue their season up 2-0 in this series.
Tampa Bay: 25-5 in their last 30 Confernce Semifinals games Tampa Bay: 4-1 in their last 5 games