SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Ross Colton scored with 3.8 seconds remaining, giving the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday night.
The stunning finish put the Lightning up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series that heads to Tampa for Game 3 on Sunday.
The game appeared headed for overtime before Colton scored from right in front of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky off a backhand pass from Nikita Kucherov, who chased down a loose puck behind the Florida net.
Tampa Bay’s power play once again was the catalyst, producing Corey Perry’s first-period goal after delivering three goals in the Lightning’s 4-1 victory in Game 1.
Perry’s goal was the Lightning’s fourth in seven power-play chances to start the series.
Florida’s power play, meanwhile, continued to sputter.
The Panthers scored the third-most power-play goals during the regular season, but entered the second game of the series 0 for 21 in man-advantage situations through seven postseason games. They were 0 for 4 Thursday night, with the team’s lone goal coming on a 30-foot shot from Eetu Luostarinen that trickled past Andrei Vasilevskiy with 1:53 remaining in the second period.
Florida got its third power-play opportunity in the final minute of the second period and had a couple of good looks, but still went into the break tied. The Panthers also got another chance in the closing minutes of the third, but came up empty again.
Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of 35 shots for Tampa Bay. Bobrovsky finished with 25 saves, including a couple of big ones that kept the Lightning from breaking a 1-all tie earlier in the third period.
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