The Big Cat Overpowers the Panthers, as the Lightning Sweep Florida With a Series-Ending Shut Out

May 24, 2022  (4:14 PM)

While the Battle of Alberta rages on, the Battle of Florida has come and gone. Unfortunately for the Panthers, their Home Ice Advantage didn't mean much, as Tampa trounced them right from the get-go. And to add insult to injury, the shut out in Game 4 was the first time this entire season that Florida didn't score. They were the offensive leaders in the entire league with 337 goals in 82 games, outshooting their opponents by over 100 (242). In Round 2, however, they only managed 3 goals in 4 games - 1 in each of the first 3, and none last night.
The Lightning have now become the 3rd team in NHL history and the 1st team to win 10 straight playoff series since the 1980-1984 Islanders. The Canadiens have done so twice between the years of 56-60 and 76-80.

The last time the Panthers were shut out? May 26, 2021 - Game 6, Round 1 - against Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning. With that win, the Lightning advanced to the second round, just as they advanced to the third, this year.

That game saw Vassy post a 29 save shut out. It seems he only gets better with time, making 49 saves, last night. Again, the Panthers were known for being the highest scoring team this season, so that number make sense, but doesn't make it any less impressive.
The 27 year old net minder now holds the number 1 spot for most playoff series-clinching shut outs at 6, and is in 2nd among active players for most series-clinching wins. With his record of 12-9, he trails only Marc-André Fleury (16-21 in 37 games).

The record stats just keep on coming with GWG scorer Pat Maroon clinching his 14th consecutive SERIES win - not game - SERIES, on his way to his FOURTH consecutive Stanley Cup. Fun fact - in that 2021 shut out against the Panthers, Maroon got the first goal, there, too, which also turned out to be the game/series winner.

However, in last night's game, Tampa had thought they'd scored TWICE before Maroon got his chance. Shots that were thought to be goals from Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov were waived off due to Killorn's hitting the mesh (decided after a nearly 10 minute review), and Kucherov's coming from a hand pass by Anthony Cirelli.

And for the Hawks fans, it sees the Hagel trade has been working, or at the very least, hasn't been hindering. Since joining the Lightning, Hagel had 4 goals and 3 assists in his 22 regular season games, and in the 11 playoff games he's been part of, he's had 1 goal and 3 assists.
Looking ahead, Tampa will have a number of rest days, as the Canes/Rangers series will go to at least 5 games, if not more. Game 4 of their series is tonight, with Carolina leading 2-1. Unlike the Battle of Florida, Home Ice Advantage does seem to be working in this series, with the Hurricanes winning the first two games at home, and New York winning Game 3 in MSG. We'll find out if that streak continues. And if it carries through the whole round, Carolina will be moving on to face Tampa in Round 3.
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The Big Cat Overpowers the Panthers, as the Lightning Sweep Florida With a Series-Ending Shut Out

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