Lightning defeat Panthers in Game 2, extend series lead

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SUNRISE, Fla. — Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 3-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup First Round at BB&T Center on Tuesday.

The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 2-0. Teams with a 2-0 lead are 330-51 (86.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 4-0 in the first round last season.

Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning, the No. 3 seed in the Discover Central Division who won Game 1 5-4 on Sunday.

Chris Driedger, making his first Stanley Cup Playoff start on his 27th birthday, made 26 saves. Mason Marchment scored for the No. 2 seed Panthers, who played without center Sam Bennett after he was suspended for his hit on Blake Coleman in the third period of Game 1.

Game 3 is at Tampa Bay on Thursday (6:30 p.m. ET; USA, FX-CA, TVAS2, BSSUN, BSFL).

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead at 4:52 of the first period on Stamkos’ goal when his pass across the front of the net bounced off defenseman Anton Stralman.

Palat made it 2-0 at 14:57 when he put home a rebound after Point got around defenseman MacKenzie Weegar and his shot went off the crossbar.

Marchment made it to 2-1 at 14:21 of the second period when he redirected Carter Verhaeghe‘s pass in front of the net.

Gourde scored an empty-net goal at 13:35 for the 3-1 final.

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