The 2024 NHL playoffs feature a first-round series between the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, marking the third time in four seasons for these Florida teams to face off. The Lightning are no longer the defending champions, while the Panthers have emerged as a well-rounded team, setting the stage for a potential upset or a power shift. Despite the Lightning's deep playoff history, the Panthers hold a heavy edge, backed by a plus-43 difference in Net Rating. Florida excels in various aspects, outperforming Tampa Bay in key areas.

By the Numbers
  • The Panthers have a plus-43 difference in Net Rating compared to the Lightning.
  • The Lightning are slightly above average in shot creation but fall short of the Panthers.
  • Florida excels in limiting opponents off the rush and extends zone time effectively.
State of Play
  • The Lightning are facing defensive challenges, particularly with concerns about their blue line depth.
  • The Panthers boast a deep forward group and strong defensive capabilities, posing a significant threat to Tampa Bay.
  • The goaltending battle between Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy could influence the series outcome.
What's Next

The series between the Panthers and the Lightning is poised to be tightly contested, with the Panthers holding a favorable position due to their strong performance across various aspects of the game. The outcome may hinge on the goaltending showdown between Bobrovsky and Vasilevskiy.

Bottom Line

The Florida Panthers appear to have the upper hand going into the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, backed by their superior performance metrics and well-rounded team composition. While the Lightning can't be discounted, the odds favor the Panthers in what promises to be a closely watched showdown with potential for a significant shift in power within the conference.