May 28th, 2024

Stamkos scores twice, Lightning avoid elimination with 6-3 win over Panthers

By Mark Didtler, The Associated Press on April 27, 2024.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Steven Stamkos scored his fourth and fifth goals of the series and the Tampa Bay Lightning avoided elimination with a 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the first-round playoff matchup Saturday night.

Game 5 is Monday night at Florida. Only four times in 206 tries has an NHL team rebounded from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

Stamkos opened the scoring during the Lightning’s three-goal first period and helped ease Florida’s sustained pressure during the opening half of the third period with his goal at 9:34 that gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead. Nicholas Paul added a goal during a 5-on-3 power-play goal with 3:38 to go.

Brandon Hagel had two goals and an assist, and Brayden Point added a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves, with Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both getting three assists.

Defenceman Mikhail Sergachev was a surprise addition to the Lightning lineup after being out since having surgery on his left leg on Feb. 8 to stabilize a broken tibia and fibula. He had an assist.

Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for Florida. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots.

Stamkos, Hagel and Point scored 6:13 apart in the first to make it 3-0. Hagel had a short-handed goal.

Verhaeghe cut it to 3-1 at 4:17 into the second.

After Hagel and Reinhart traded goals 1:30 apart midway through the second, Ekman-Larsson pulled Florida to 4-3 with his first playoff goal since Aug. 2, 2020, with 5:27 remaining in the period.

Stamkos became the third Tampa Bay player to reach 100 post-season points and moved past Ondrej Palat (48) into solo possession of second on the franchise list with 50 goals.


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