Lightning eliminate Panthers with Game 6 shutout

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TAMPA — Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves, and the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the Florida Panthers with a 4-0 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Amalie Arena on Wednesday. 

Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and Nikita Kucherov and Erik Cernak each had two assists for the Lightning, the No. 3 seed in the Discover Central Division. 

Tampa Bay will play either the Carolina Hurricanes or Nashville Predators in the second round. The Hurricanes lead that best-of-7 series 3-2 with Game 6 in Nashville on Thursday. 

Spencer Knight made 20 saves for the Panthers, the No. 2 seed, who have not won a playoff series since 1996, when they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final before being swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

Pat Maroon gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 6:16 of the first period, knocking the puck out of the air with his backhand following a centering pass from Tyler Johnson.

Stamkos made it 2-0 at 13:27 of the second period. He beat Knight to the near post with a one-timer from the right circle on the power play.

Brayden Point extended the lead to 3-0 at 14:36 of the third period when he made a cut around Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar and tucked the puck past Knight’s outstretched left pad. 

Alex Killorn shot into an empty net at 18:18 for the 4-0 final.

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