Sunrise, Florida – Florida Cheetahs may have a long summer to think about the last 15 seconds of their lives 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the second round of the Eastern Conference at the FLA Live Arena on Thursday.
Errors ending in Ross Colton Scoring the game-winning goal 3.8 seconds early is the kind that can chase a team, but the Panthers don’t have enough time to indulge as they look to turn the page and return in their best of 7 streak in Game 3 in Tampa Bay on Sunday (1:30 p.m. local time). Eastern; TNT, SN, TVAS).
“It’s not easy,” said Panthers coach Andrew Brunot. “It’s one of those things that hurts, of course, but it’s the roller coaster ride we’re on and the sun will rise. Wake up and keep playing like we’re playing. I really liked our game. Most of our game liked Game 1.”
“Just a learning experience again against a team that doesn’t give you a lot of chances, and we dumped one there.”
[RELATED: Complete Panthers vs. Lightning series coverage]
Similar to their 4-1 win in the first game on Tuesday, the Lightning team showed the pedigree of the championship by finding a way to win when the Panthers couldn’t. After Florida led 1-0 and controlled play for most of the first two periods, Tampa Bay responded by scoring four unanswered goals, including three in the third inning.
On Thursday, the Lightning advanced 1-0 when Corey Berry He scored a force-playing goal at 12:06 in the first half, but the Panthers kept pushing and were finally rewarded Ito lostarinenThe equalizing goal with 1:53 left in the second half.
Thanks to the momentum generated by this goal, Florida had the opportunity to take the lead when Nikita Kucherov He was called to stumble with 47secs remaining, but was unable to convert on the power run that followed.
Then, the penalty kicks off Stephen Stamkos With 3:23 left in the third period, the Panthers gave another shot at the power game, but again, they failed to convert.
Florida finished the game 0-4 with a 0-25 man advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Brunette said, “It’s really unbelievable. But I loved the urgency. We had some looks. I thought it was better and it was a great opportunity to cash in on that.”
Video: Colton’s late goal lifts Lightning in game two victory
Despite the missed chances, the match looked destined for extra time until Colton’s stunning goal.
Even after lightning cannons Jean Rota Carry the disc following the rotation in the neutral region by Mackenzie and jealous With 15 seconds left, the Panthers had two chances to clear the disc.
First, the defense man Gustav Forsling Kucherov could not be bypassed along the right-wing councils. Then, Luostarinen lost the disc when he had a chance to wipe it near the blue line, allowing Ondrej Balat To keep it at the right point and send it in depth.
“We just have to get the disc out,” Lostarinen said. “That can’t happen there.”
As the clock ticked, Kucherov retrieved the disc behind the net and Forsling chased him from behind. But Weegar also decided to drop from the other side of the net, leaving Colton unguarded below the left circle.
Peeking over his left shoulder, Kucherov saw Colton skate alone and made a pass with a masterful backhand forward.
“He’s got eyes in the back of his head, you see, because I didn’t even know he knew I was there,” Colton said. “It is a gift wrapped for me.”
With a bit of a tweak, Colton cut Kucherov’s pass over .’s right shoulder Sergey Bobrovskyleaving the Panthers in disbelief and silencing the crowd at the FLA Live Arena.
“It’s kind of difficult,” said Bobrovsky. “[Kucherov] Behind the network, right? directly behind him. So he made a good pass and it was a good shot.”
It was another costly playoff lesson for the Panthers, who won the Presidents Cup as the NHL team with the best regular season record but are still trying to figure out how to win the playoffs against Lightning.
“I loved our game,” said the brunette. “I thought we were in a great position. We took the disc 20 seconds from the end and he didn’t work out. He kind of made a huge mistake.”
It remains to be seen if that proves fatal to the Panthers’ season, but they now face a familiar situation they hope to avoid repeating.
In the first round last season, Tampa Bay won the first two games of the series on the road before going on to eliminate Florida in six games.
“[The locker room] “He was calm, but all the players are professionals. Everyone understands that the next match will be big. We can make a difference in the future, not in the past, and that’s it. So we have to stay together again and keep working,” said Bobrovsky.