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


TAMPA, Fla. — 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..

Defenseman 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 postseason points and moved past Ondrej Palat (48) into solo possession of second on the franchise list with 50 goals.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl



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