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Nuts & Bolts: A playoff preview Saturday night in Sunrise

Before meeting in the First Round of the playoffs, the Bolts and Panthers close out the regular season with a two-game set in South Florida

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

The Lightning can secure home ice advantage in the First Round with a regulation win tonight over the Panthers in Sunrise.

When: Saturday, May 8 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL
TV coverage: Bally Sports Florida (check local listings)
Radio coverage: 970 WFLA-AM, Lightning Power Play
Stream info: Bally Sports AppNHL.TV

Projected Lineup (subject to change)
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Alex Barre-Boulet
Tyler Johnson - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph

Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - David Savard
Mikhail Sergachev - Jan Rutta

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Saturday's Matchup
The Lightning and the Panthers are playing their seventh of eight meetings this season and the third of four at BB&T Center...Tampa Bay is 3-3-0 against Florida in 2020-21, including a 1-1-0 record in Sunrise...The Lightning fell 5-3 to the Panthers in the teams' last meeting April 17 at AMALIE Arena, Bolts netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy (27-of-31 saves) suffering his first home loss of the season...Tampa Bay downed the Panthers 6-1 in their last meeting at BB&T Center Feb. 13, Tyler Johnson scoring a pair of goals in the win for his only multi-goal game of the season to date...Brayden Point (4-2--6 pts.), Ondrej Palat (1-5--6 pts.) and Victor Hedman (1-5--6 pts.) pace the Lightning for scoring this season versus Florida...Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson (4-0--4 pts.) lead the Bolts for goals against the Panthers... Andrei Vasilevskiy has started four of the six games in 2020-21 against Florida (2-2-0) and has tallied two assists, his most against any opponent this season.

Saturday's Storylines
The Lightning have two games remaining in the regular season, both on the road against Florida...Tampa Bay completes its ninth of nine back-to-back sets tonight...The Bolts are 5-2-1 in the second half of a back-to-back and are looking to avoid getting swept in a back-to-back for the first time this season...Tampa Bay and Florida are guaranteed to face one another in the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for their first-ever playoff series...The Lightning can secure a second-place finish in the Central Division and home-ice advantage for the First Round with a regulation victory tonight...If the Bolts win either of their final two regular season games against the Panthers in regulation, they will secure second place in the Central and
home ice for the first round.

2020-21 Reg. Season Man Games Lost: 143
Nikita Kucherov (Hip Surgery Dec. 29; Out) 54 Games 
Steven Stamkos (Lower-body injury Apr. 8; Out) 14 Games

The Road Ahead
Monday, May 10 at Florida Panthers

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