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Bellamare leads Lightning over Panthers in Eastern Conference semifinal opener

Corey Perry slaps the gloves of his teammate as he skates along the bench
Reinhold Matay
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) celebrates a goal against the Florida Panthers with defenseman Zach Bogosian (24) and defenseman Cal Foote (52) during the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.

Tampa Bay topped Florida 4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Andrei Vasilevskiy remained red-hot with 34 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning topped the Florida Panthers 4-1 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist and Ross Colton also scored for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Lightning took Game 1 against their in-state rivals for the second consecutive season.

Anthony Duclair had the goal for Florida.