Entering Saturday night trailing the Florida Panthers 3-0 in the Round One series, the Tampa Bay Lightning refused go down without a fight. Backs against the wall, the Bolts got a boost with the return of defenseman of Mikhail Sergachev, who was inserted into the lineup a mere 79 days after having surgery to stabilize fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his left leg.

As one of the five starting skaters for Tampa Bay, Sergachev’s name was announced ahead of the national anthem and received a deafening roar from the crowd at AMALIE Arena.

With the building full of energy and enthusiasm, the Lightning carried that momentum into the first period, outscoring the Panthers 3-0 over the opening 20 minutes of a do-or-die Game 4.

The Bolts opened the scoring at the 8:54 mark of the first when the power play came through with Steven Stamkos netting his fourth goal in as many games.

Skating on the top power-play unit for the first time this series, Brandon Hagel moved the puck to the slot for Brayden Point, who put a no-look, backhand pass on a platter for Stamkos to hammer a one-timer past Sergei Bobrovsky and give the Lightning a 1-0 lead with his 100th career playoff point.

With Tyler Motte in the penalty box for interference shortly after, Tampa Bay’s special teams came through once again with Hagel netting a shorthanded tally to push the lead to 2-0 with his second goal of the playoffs.

Gaining possession in the defensive zone, Hagel skated through the neutral zone and over the Panthers blue line before using Oliver Ekman-Larsson as a screen and ripping a shot over the blocker of Bobrovsky into the top left corner just 3:15 after Stamkos opened the scoring.

Feeding off the home crowd, the Bolts extended the lead to 3-0 with Point finding the back of the net for the second time of the series.

With Nick Paul and Aleksander Barkov both in the penalty box for roughing, Point used the extra ice at 4-on-4 to skate through the neutral zone and complete a give-and-go with Nikita Kucherov as he passed over the Florida blue line. Dashing around Gustav Forsling, Point pulled Bobrovsky out of his net before scoring on a wraparound and pushing the lead to 3-0 only 2:58 after Hagel’s shorthanded goal.

Opening the middle frame in a three-goal hole, Florida punched back with Carter Verhaeghe scoring his third goal of the postseason 4:17 into the period. Finding open ice in the slot, Verhaeghe took a pass from Barkov and lifted the puck over the glove of Andrei Vasilevskiy for his third goal of the series.

In need of a counterpunch, Tampa Bay got the necessary response off the stick of Hagel, who netted his second goal of the night with Sergachev picking up the primary helper in his return to action.

As the teams skated 4-on-4 once again, Hagel and Anthony Cirelli skated out of the Lightning’s defensive end and made their way through the neutral zone with two Panthers defenders ahead of them. Jumping up into the play, Sergachev took a backhand feed from Cirelli as he crossed over the Florida blue line. With his head up the whole way, Sergachev sent a pass to the top of the circles for Hagel, who curled into the high slot and ripped a shot over the glove of Bobrovsky to restore the three-goal lead.

But as they have done all series, Florida stuck with it and got back-to-back tallies from Sam Reinhart (11:10) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (14:33) to make it a one-goal game heading into the third period.

With Tampa Bay’s season on the line, Stamkos continued the incredible play he’s showcased throughout the series and scored his second goal of the night to push the Lightning lead to 5-3.

Picking up a loose puck in the offensive zone, Kucherov used his body to shield off Niko Mikkola and send a pass to the left circle for Stamkos, who wired a shot to the far post past Bobrovsky with 10:26 remaining in regulation.

Getting under the skin of the Panthers, the Bolts earned a 5-on-3 power play in the late stages of the third period and extended the lead to 6-3 with Nick Paul scoring his second goal of the series, lifting a rebound over the left pad of Bobrovsky with 3:38 remaining in regulation.

Backs against the wall, the Lightning’s leaders stepped up and played a major role in extending the series with Hagel, Hedman, Kucherov, Point and Stamkos all posting multi-point efforts. Tampa Bay will look to keep its season alive Monday night in Sunrise. Puck drop for Game 5 is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Bolts by the Numbers

- Steven Stamkos scored two goals and extended his goal streak to four games (5-1—6). The Lightning captain has now recorded 15 points in 21 potential-elimination games (8-7—15), the highest goal and point total among all skaters in Tampa Bay franchise history in such games. Stamkos became the fourth player age 34 or older in NHL history to log a four-game goal streak to begin the postseason, joining Rick Tocchet (5 GP in 1998), Teemu Selanne (4 GP in 2011) and Gordie Howe (4 GP in 1963). Stamkos has now scored 50 career playoff goals (50-51—101), moving him past Ondrej Palat and giving him sole possession of the second-most postseason goals in Lightning franchise history. Stamkos also joined Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov as the only players in Tampa Bay franchise history to record 100 career playoff points.

- Brayden Point scored a goal and added two assists for his sixth career three-point playoff game. Point has recorded five points this series (2-3—5), the fourth-most among all Lightning skaters behind Victor Hedman (0-6—6), Nikita Kucherov (0-6—6) and Steven Stamkos (5-1—6).

- Brandon Hagel also scored two goals and added an assist, marking his first career three-point playoff game.

- Victor Hedman picked up three helpers, tying his career high for assists in a playoff game. Hedman has now recorded 27 multi-point playoff games, moving him past Bobby Orr and giving him sole possession of the 10th-most multi-point games by a defenseman in Stanley Cup Playoffs history. Hedman’s six assists are the most among all NHL defensemen this postseason.

- Nikita Kucherov also recorded three assists, his 22nd three-point playoff game. The only skaters in NHL history with more three-point outings in the postseason are Wayne Gretzky (59), Mark Messier (30) and Jari Kurri (28). Kucherov joined Gretzky (28), Messier (12), Paul Coffey (11) and Doug Gilmour (11) as the only players in NHL history with 10 or more three-assist playoff games.

- Mikhail Sergachev played his first game since Feb. 7 at NYR and logged 17:03 time on ice with one assist and two blocked shots.

- Anthony Cirelli picked up one assist recorded five hits. Cirelli’s 20 hits this postseason are the most among all Lightning forwards.

- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves on 25 shots against. Vasilevskiy has now recorded 3,170 career playoff saves, moving him past Mike Vernon and giving him sole possession of the 11th-most postseason saves in NHL history.

Bolts Quotes

- Mikhail Sergachev on his return to the lineup: “Honestly, couldn't really sleep last night. It felt like a first NHL game again. Then you go on the ice and you get that from the fans in a warmup. It made me very emotional and I'm just thankful to be here and thankful for the guys. That was huge.”

- Jon Cooper on what it meant to have Mikhail Sergachev back in the lineup: “Did you hear the introduction? In the normal introduction, you hear all the players' names, there's a cheer. It gets to Vasilevskiy, there's a massive cheer. And I could not hear the PA guy say Vasilevskiy's name. The roar just kept going on. All the guys on our bench got up. It was a stirring moment and I thought we carried that right into the first period.”

- Steven Stamkos on Mikhail Sergachev’s return giving the Lightning a boost: “I kind of got chills myself just with that reception that he got. You guys don't get to see what goes on behind the scenes and the amount of work that goes into coming back from an injury like that. It's impressive. The timeline's impressive. Everything he's done is extremely impressive. To go out there and play and jump into a series when we were down and on the ropes, it was a huge boost for our team. I thought Sergy played outstanding tonight and hopefully he continues to do that because he's a big part of our defense for sure.”

- Sergachev: “I want to thank Stammer actually because he broke his leg and Mikey, our trainer, was showing me videos of Stammer skating like four weeks after. That kind of pushed me and made me work because the first four weeks since the injury, it was tough, mentally. But seeing those videos of him walking pretty much the next day and doing all that stuff kind of helped.”

Krenner’s Three Stars

1. Steven Stamkos

2. Brandon Hagel

3. Mikhail Sergachev

Lightning Look Ahead

- Game 5: Monday, April 29 at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. ET, Amerant Bank Arena