Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday after falling 6-1 to the Florida Panthers, in what could have been Steven Stamkos’ final game in a Lightning jersey.

The Panthers won the series 4-1, with the sole Lightning win coming in Game 4 on Saturday at Amalie Arena.

The Lightning put the puck in the net first, however, that goal was overturned after review due to goalie interference. The Lightning also had another goal waived off late in the 2nd Period, also due to goalie interference.

Niko Mikkola had a goal and an assist, Evan Rodrigues also scored and Matthew Tkachuk had two assists for the Panthers, who won a playoff series against Tampa Bay for the first time in franchise history and clinched a postseason series at home for only the fourth time. Florida bested Boston and Philadelphia on home ice in the first two rounds of the 1996 playoffs, then eliminated Carolina at home in last season’s Eastern Conference finals en route to their second Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning, which was eliminated in the first round for the second straight year after reaching the Final three straight years. Andrei Vasilevsky stopped 33 shots.

Barkov gave Florida a 2-0 lead when he pounced on a rebound for a short-handed goal — his first of the playoffs — at 7:22 of the second period. He added another at 8:54 of a four-goal third to restore the Panthers’ two-goal cushion after Hedman got the Lightning on the board 59 seconds after Barkov’s first score.

The Panthers had 22 shots on goal in the second, which is the second-most in a single period of a playoff game in franchise history. Florida had 23 shots in the third period of a playoff win against Pittsburgh in 1996.

Verhaeghe opened scoring for the Panthers with a four-on-four goal just 45 seconds into the second period. Verhaeghe grabbed his own rebound and wristed a shot past Vasilevsky.

Rodrigues added a score for good measure with less than six minutes left to play on a wrist shot that was his first goal of the playoffs, and Verhaeghe scored an empty-netter with just under four minutes to play to stretch his franchise-record goals total to 20. Mikkola added another empty-netter nearly three minutes later.

The Lightning’s NHL-best power play during the regular season was inconsistent in this first round. Tampa Bay had two man-advantages in the first 10 minutes of the opening period — Florida killed them both off — and finished the game 0 for 3 .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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