Sunshine State showdown: Lightning-Panthers in NHL's Round 1
Florida was second in the Central Division, Tampa Bay third. “I think we made giant strides over the course of the year, from this year to last year,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. He missed the entire regular season with a hip injury. “The big thing for me is to not sit here and say ‘Kucherov is coming back, like all problems are solved,’” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We haven’t had our full team,” Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.wftv.com
Driedger gets third shutout as Panthers beat Lightning 4-0
Chris Driedger stopped 30 shots to record his third shutout of the season, Juho Lammikko scored a short-handed goal, and the Florida Panthers secured home-ice advantage for the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the regular season finale for both clubs.
Lightning Effect: Skilled NHL teams add grit to go for Cup
Rewind to 2019 and early 2020 and that description fits the Tampa Bay Lightning, who added some grit and toughness to their talented core and went on to win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning effect was clear as soon as NHL free agency opened. “You need guys that are going to have a little bit of sandpaper. “We maybe have taken a little bit of a step back from the most skillful lineup we’ve ever had to more of a balance between the will and the skill," Poile said. We certainly have a little bit more physicality, a little bit more grit and I think it’s probably and hopefully a better mix than we had last year.”___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports