5. Florida’s physicality fails to bear fruit
It was clear from the start that Game 2 was going to have a different tone than Game 1 when the Panthers opted to start Ryan Lomberg. And if that wasn’t a clear enough sign then Ondrej Palat nearly being checked into the benches in the opening seconds of the game was there to clear up any confusion.
In total the Panthers would deliver 52 hits to Lightning players during the game – a significant increase from the 30 hits they threw at the Bolts in Game 1.
From Tampa’s perspective, I think it was very encouraging to see that the team looked completely unphased by this uptick in body contact. Retaliation penalties were not an issue and their control of the puck in all three zones looked consistent throughout. If the Panthers are going to get back into this series, simply throwing more hits is not going to cause this experienced team to come unhinged.