Scorching Panthers face Lightning in Sunshine State showdown

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Florida out of the blue is the most popular state on ice.

As the NHL common season winds down, the Florida Panthers (57-15-6, 120 factors) will host the Tampa Bay Lightning (48-22-8, 104 factors) on Sunday night time in Sunrise, Fla.

The Panthers set a franchise report Saturday with their thirteenth consecutive win, a 3-2 extra time victory vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tampa Bay cruised to a 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Both the Panthers and Lightning have already got clinched playoff berths. The Lightning are the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions, and the Panthers are atop the NHL standings this season.

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No different state has two NHL playoff groups this season (sorry California, New York and Pennsylvania).

The Panthers are the league’s highest-scoring group. The Lightning reside within the top-eight in targets scored and targets allowed.

Florida has gained two of its three matchups with Tampa Bay this season. Only a kind of video games was in Sunrise, and the Panthers rolled to a 9-3 rout in that sport on Dec. 30.

Both groups are deep.

The Lightning have six gamers with at the least 20 targets this season: captain Steven Stamkos (35), Brayden Point (27), Alex Killorn (25), Ross Colton (22), Nikita Kucherov (21) and defenseman Victor Hedman (20).

“Balanced scoring — it’s pivotal if you want to go anywhere in the playoffs,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “You need to have more than a couple of guys scoring. It’s a big reason for our success.”

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The Panthers have seven 20-goal scorers, led by captain Aleksander Barkov (39). The others are Anthony Duclair (31), Jonathan Huberdeau (30), Sam Reinhart (29), Sam Bennett (27), Carter Verhaeghe (22) and Claude Giroux (21). Giroux, nonetheless, scored 18 of these whereas taking part in with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Huberdeau, who has 114 factors, is attempting to catch Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (116) for the NHL scoring lead. Huberdeau already leads the NHL with 84 assists.

Huberdeau mentioned he doesn’t monitor the scoring battle, however …

“My brother texts me all the time,” Huberdeau mentioned. “He says, ‘McDavid got another one.’

“I tell him, ‘You can stop texting me. That’s fine.’”

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who bought the win on Saturday, leads the NHL in wins with 39.

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Tampa Bay star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had the night time off on Saturday, is 36-18-5 this season with a 2.46 goals-against common and a .917 save proportion.

The Lightning even have Brian Elliott, who gained on Saturday to enhance his report to 11-3-3.

“I love our (goalie) tandem,” Cooper mentioned. “But if we’re not defending (well), it doesn’t matter who’s in net. The (goalies) can only do so much.

“If we’re going to do anything (in the playoffs), we have to look after our own end.”

Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette mentioned his group bought a style of what the postseason shall be like in Saturday’s win over Toronto.

“It felt like a playoff game,” Brunette mentioned. “It was a tight-checking game. It was fast-paced. Toronto played harder than we did. But the fact that we won speaks to the grit and resilience of our group.”

–Field Level Media



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