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Panthers vs. Lightning Game 4: Tampa Bay sweeps Florida in shutout with brilliant night by Andrei Vasilevskiy

After winning the Presidents’ Trophy and leading the NHL in goals this season, the Florida Panthers looked primed for a Stanley Cup Final run. But through three games of their second-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida now sits a loss away from elimination. 

The Lightning, winners of back-to-back Stanley Cups, hope to finish the job at 7 p.m. ET in Amalie Arena on Monday. A win would give Tampa Bay its 10th straight playoff series victory and be the first time a defending champion swept a Presidents’ Trophy winner since 1988.  

A Florida loss would continue a long line of flameouts by Presidents’ Trophy winners, but this one would be particularly disappointing. The last eight teams to win the Presidents’ Trophy didn’t claim the Stanley Cup, and only one has been swept — the Lightning, coincidentally, in 2019. 

Florida has been offensively inept this series after averaging over four goals a game during the regular season. The Panthers have only three goals in as many games, largely because of Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s elite play. Over the last two postseasons, Vasilevskiy — who helped the Lightning dispatch Florida 4-2 in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs — is 7-2 with a goals against average of 2.10 against his in-state rivals. 

Should Tampa Bay win and advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals, it will play either the New York Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes.

For live updates, analysis and more from the game, follow here. 

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