Preview: Fresh Off Wild OT Win, Panthers look to split series in Game 4
“The guys were obviously on a different level last night,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said on a media teleconference Friday. “The excitement was overwhelming, but it’s a new day. I think building that momentum [into Game 4], we have to try to find a way to balance it. “
Down 5-3 early in the third period of Game 3, the Panthers had a power play goal of Patric hornqvist early in the frame to reduce the deficit to 5-4 before Gustav Forsling, dressing only for the third playoff game of his career, lit the flash with just 3:07 left to go 5-5 and force overtime.
Starting the extra frame behind the eight ball, the Panthers initially had to kill 1:23 of a power play for the Lightning, which had been carried over from the third period. Take up the challenge, and even though Tampa Bay had already scored two with the extra attacker, they got the job done.
After setting the table for a few heroes, then an unlikely hero appeared.
After Noel Acciari won a face-off for Radko Gudas in the defensive zone, the defender then lifted the puck in the air towards the neutral zone. Have just enough of his staff on it, Frank Vatrano then pushed the rubber straight through two right defenders to Ryan lomberg.
With no one but the goalkeeper in front of him, the uncompromising forward, who had yet to shoot a shot in the game until then, beat Andrei Vasilevsky to give the Panthers a 6-5 victory and cut The Lightning lead in the best of seven series to a very manageable 2-1.
Video: FLA @ TBL, Gm3: Lomberg scores a breakaway goal match 3 OT
Only the third player in franchise history to score a winning goal in overtime, Lomberg, who did so in his first shift in extra-frame, was the first to do so since Mike Hough in 1996. .
“All it takes is one shot, one chance,” Lomberg said afterwards. “We are on Game 4.”
Coming so big in victory, Sergey Bobrovsky stopped all nine shots he faced after entering the game Chris Driedger to start the third period. Following this solid performance, the two-time winner of the Vézina Trophy should once again get the nod on Saturday.
In the crease for parts of two games of the series, Bobrovsky stopped 44 of 49 shots.
“He was excited about the challenge when he got put in the game,” Quenneville said of Bobrovsky, who had a strong 19-8-2 record in addition to a .906 save percentage in regular season. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him happier than he was after that game.”
As for other roster changes heading into Game 4, Quenneville said it was “likely” the Panthers will ride with the same squad that helped them win the W on Thursday. In this victory, Sam bennett, Alex wennberg and Radko Gudas joined Hornqvist, Forsling and Lomberg in touching the string.
Through the first three games in the series, Jonathan huberdeau leads Florida in scoring with six points (one goal, five assists), including three assists in Game 3. Not far behind, the captain Aleksander Barkov and recruit Owen Tippett are tied for second place with four points each.
With Saturday’s puck drop at 12:30 p.m. ET, the exact roster won’t be known until warm-ups.
For the Lightning, Game 3 marked the first time in all season, they lost a game leading after two periods. Prior to that, they had played 28-0-0 during the regular season and the combined playoffs. With its five goals in the middle frame, it was also the third time in NHL history that a team had lit the lamp five times in a single period and still lost the game in the playoffs.
In the loss, Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Alex Killorn all found the back of the net, while Vasilevskiy gave up six goals on 47 shots, including a pair of power play goals thanks to some exceptional ones. . Panthers screen jobs.
Although he could be in line for his second Vezina Trophy after leading the NHL with 31 regular season wins, Vasilevskiy continues to appear vulnerable to the Panthers. In fact, the 26-year-old has given up at least four goals in five of his last six games against them.
The third game also marked the second time this season Vasilevskiy has allowed at least five goals.
The other game? Yes, you guessed it, also came against the Panthers.
“We know he’s a good goalie, but we can beat him,” said Huberdeau. “We’re good enough to beat him. We have scored a lot of goals in many games against him. Tonight, once again, six goals. We just have to make it difficult for him and the puck will come in and that’s what we did tonight. “
Offering three assists in Game 3, Victor Hedman beats the Lightning in the playoffs with six points, while Point, who has accumulated at least one point in every game so far, and Nikita Kucherov are tied for second place. with five points each. In third, Stamkos compiled four points.
On Friday, Hedman, Kucherov and Vasilevskiy, who are set to start Game 4, were all out of Tampa Bay practice for maintenance reasons. According to Bryan Burns of the club’s official website, coach John Cooper later said the three players would play on Saturday.
“We made a video today, we watched it to see what we could do better and now that is over,” Cirelli told reporters. “I think at this time of year you must have a short memory. Last night happened, that’s how it went, and we just need to refocus and be ready for. the next game. “
With the home side yet to win a game in the series, the Panthers have a golden opportunity ahead of them to level the battle to the best of seven before returning to Alligator Alley to welcome the Lightning in what should be a tumultuous match. 5 at the BB&T Center Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” said Quenneville.
PANTHERS vs LIGHTNING IN REGULAR SEASON
– ALL TIME vs TBL: 71-48-10-17
– HOUSE OF ALL TIME vs TBL: 42-16-4-10
– 2020-21 against TBL: 5-2-1
– Aleksander Barkov led the Panthers in goals (26), even-matched goals (18), even-matched points (38) and shots (176) in the regular season. He was also second on the team in assists (32), points (58), power play goals (7) and power play points (19). He is the only player in franchise history to have produced six straight 50-point, 20-goal seasons.
– Jonathan Huberdeau led Florida in assists (41), points (61) and power-play points (24) for the second consecutive season, while also placing second on the team in goals (20 ) and points of equal force (37). In the first three games of the playoffs, he produced a team record of six points.
– Alex Wennberg scored his first goal of this year’s playoffs and also added an assist in Game 3. During the regular season, he netted a career-high 17 goals, including a pair of rounds from the hat.
– MacKenzie Weegar allowed all Panthers defensemen to score with a career-high 35 points, including three goals and eight assists in their last eight games of the regular season. He also ranked first among NHL defensemen in points even (31) and over / under (tied + 29).
– Two-time Stanley Cup champion Patric Hornqvist has 48 points (26 goals, 22 assists) in 93 career playoff games. In his first season with the Panthers, eight of his 14 team-header goals were scored on the power play, including potting a pair against the Lightning.
–Sam Bennett is fourth for the Panthers in the playoffs with three points (one goal, two assists) despite failing Game 2 due to suspension. Going back to the regular season, he has recorded at least one point in 11 of 12 games since being acquired from the Flames on the NHL trade deadline last month. During that span, he produced 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists).
– With a pair of multi-point games already in the series, rookie Owen Tippett is tied for second with the Panthers in the playoffs with four points (one goal, three assists).
– Radko Gudas paced the Panthers and led the NHL with 250 hits in the regular season. In three games against the Lightning in this series, he’s already registered 24 hits to go along with a goal and an assist. Plus, his Game 3 goal was the first playoff goal of his NHL career.
PROJECTED RANGE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
Carter Verhaeghe – Aleksander Barkov – Anthony Duclair
Jonathan Huberdeau – Sam Bennett – Owen Tippett
Frank Vatrano – Alex Wennberg – Patric Hornqvist
Ryan Lomberg – Noel Acciari – Mason walk
MacKenzie Weegar – Anton stralman
Gustav Forsling – Radko Gudas
Markus Nutivaara – Brandon montour
Stripes: Eetu Luostarinen, Juho lammikko, Nikita Gusev, Aleksi Heponiemi, Keith yandle, Grigory Denisenko, Matt Kiersted, Noah juulsen, Spencer knight, Kevin connauton
Taxi squad: Scott Wilson, Cole schwindt, Brady keeper, Sam Montembeault, Philippe Desrosiers
Reserve injured: Aaron Ekblad (lower body)
– May 10: Dr Kevin Connauton has been recalled to Florida’s active roster.
– May 4: G Philippe Desrosiers is loaned to the Taxi Squad.
– May 3: G Philippe Desrosiers is recalled from the Taxi Squad.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
When: Saturday, May 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Or: Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL
TV: Bally Sports Florida, CNBC
Flux: Bally Sports app
Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade / Broward); 850 WFTL (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 107.9 FM / 1370 AM WZTA (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Network Radio NHL Ch. 91
Pre-game listening: In the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, The Associated Press’s Tim Reynolds stops to discuss the Rising Panthers, animated playoffs and more!