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Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines: Blues, Panthers Looking to Rebound

Four teams are about to begin Game 2 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and two of them are hoping for a different result on Thursday. Here's what you need to look for.
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Four teams are about to begin Game 2 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and two of them are hoping for a different result on Thursday. Here's what you need to look for.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers

Florida has been through this before already

After winning the NHL's regular season title for the first time ever, the Florida Panthers lost Game 1 against Washington in a lackluster performance.

So, after beating the Caps in the first round, the Panthers found themselves starting flat again, this time against Tampa Bay. The Lightning won 4-1 two nights ago, with the Lighting scoring three of its goals on the power play. 

Florida actually started strong with Anthony Duclair scoring in the first, but penalty trouble killed them. Florida's ability to bounce back was a positive against Washington, but Tampa is going to smother you until there's nothing left. Tampa hasn't lost consecutive games since 2019, so they don't give you much room to make mistakes. 

Florida's coach Andrew Brunette said he was fine with Game 1, and that the penalties were the difference-maker. At 5-on-5, the Panthers were at the top all season long, and that needs to remain the case if they're going to avoid going down 2-0.

Florida won the Presidents' Trophy for a reason. Expect them to rebound in a big way.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

St. Louis' defense needs to tighten up

The Blues allowed 54 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1, with Jordan Binnington seemingly having to stand on his head again. They more than doubled St. Louis' 25 shots, which, arguably, could be withered down to the fact that the Avalanche had a week off before Game 1 while the Blues needed six games to beat Minnesota. 

Colorado's offense was clearly awake in that game, but the difference was on the blueline. The Blues faced some injury issues against Minnesota and are still out without Torey Krug and Marco Scandella.

At 5-on-5, Colorado had a whopping 68.06 shots-for percentage compared to St. Louis' 31.94. In fact, all the stats were wildly lopsided for Colorado, so it's amazing that the Blues kept it close on the scoreboard. The fact it wasn't a blowout should be a positive sign for the Blues that they can steal some wins along the way. They just got to figure out their own zone coverage first.

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