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Sunshine State showdown. Lightning-Panthers in the first round of the NHL

In used time, there was something called the Governor’s Cup, a cup dedicated to each team that won the annual season series between the Florida Panthers և Tampa Bay Lightning. It was supposed to be a way to drum up hockey interest around the arena.

It never really caught on.

Also, there are many better things to gain than some crystal vases.

Reigning Stanley Cup champions Lightning և Panthers are set to meet for the first time this season. The first game of their Central Round start is Sunday night on the ice of the Panthers at Sunrise, Florida.

Florida was second in the central division and Tampa Bay was third.

“I think we have had a lot of success this year, from this year to last year,” said Panthers coach Elle Quenville. “But it does not matter. That is what we are doing now. “

The Panthers went 5-2-1 against lightning this season, although that now seems to be the most important thing, given that the Tampa Bay squad will be significantly different in this series.

Lightning drives Nikita Kucherov, whose last game was on September 28, the night Tampa Bay lifted the Stanley Cup. He missed the entire regular season with a thigh injury.

“The big thing for me is not to sit here and say, ‘Kucherov is coming back, all the problems are solved,'” said Tampa Bay coach Jon on Cooper. “It simply came to our notice then. I do not think anyone should look at it that way. He is an exceptional player in this league, he can make things happen. “But we have to be careful of the fact that he has not played in eight months, there is something to be said for that.”

Only Kucherov does not return. Lightning is also waiting for Steven Stamkos for this series. He has not played with a low body injury since April 8.

“We did not have our entire team,” said Tampa Bay defender Ryan MacDonald.

They do now. Thus, all the directors on both sides, except for Florida defender Aaron Ekblad, seem to be ready for the first game.

“I play all this in the playoffs,” said Patrick Hornquist of Florida. “I do not think about the regular season. “I want to win a cup.”

And he did not mean the governor’s cup.


This is the first time that Tampa Bay gets to defend the cup a year after winning it. In 2004, the first lightning title preceded a season he lost due to a lockout. In 1991 և In 1992, as a result of Pittsburgh retroactive steps, only two privileges successfully defended the cup. Detroit won in 1997 և 1998, and Pittsburgh did it again in 2016 և 2017.


Alex Wenberg from Florida scored five goals in the regular season against “Lightning”, more than each of them had eight appearances. Tyler John Onson և Braden Point had four for Tampa Bay. Frank Vatrano had four for the Panthers. Alexander Barkov and Wenberg from Florida scored eight points, while Jon Onatan Huberdo added seven for the Panthers. Stamkos has 68 points in 34 games against Florida; No skater has ever played in the Panthers-Lightning games like him.


Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky was knocked out of the playoffs in 2019 by lightning when he was at Columbus և to start the first game for the Panthers. Tampa Bay go with Andrei Vasilski, who stopped the lightning on his way to winning the title last year, ending it in the 6th game with the cancellation of the cup against Dallas. But the Panthers scored 9 goals from Vasilski in the last two games of the game. regular season.


As a coach, Quenville has won three Stanley Cups, all in Chicago, more than any active coach in this playoffs. “His boys are playing very hard,” Cooper said. “He knows what he wants in the player (և) he knows how to get it out of them.” The Tampa Bay-Florida series is one of two first-round matches involving two cup-winning coaches. The other is Pittsburgh against the inhabitants of the New York Islands, and the Penguins’ trainer Mike Sullivan competes with the Barry Trotsky of the Islands.


Florida will join California, New York and Pennsylvania as states that have had the state NHL playoff series. In other sports there were Sunshine State play-off matches. The Miami Dolphins lost to the Acks Exxonville Aguars in the NFL playoffs after the 1999 season, and the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs.


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