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How to watch Panthers vs. Lightning first round NHL playoff series

The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We break down what to watch and how to watch on TV and via live online stream.

Chris Driedger #60 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on May 10, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The 2021 NHL Playoffs have arrived and the road to the presentation of Lord Stanley’s Cup begins on May 15th when the Caps and Bruins open their series. The other two teams in the East Division, the No. 2 Florida Panthers and No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning begin play the following day on Sunday the 16th. The puck drops for Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the rest of the series plays out every other day.

The Panthers finished 5-2-1 against the Lightning in the Battle for Florida this season. The Panthers are not a team you’d want to face right now. Florida finished the season on a six-game winning streak and are one of the more balanced teams in the NHL. The second season under coach Joel Quenneville went better than the first and a Cup run could be in order.

The defending champs will look start their quest for back-to-back titles against an in-state rival. While the Lightning underachieved during the regular season, they’ll get a big-time addition in the form of Nikita Kucherov. The All-Star wing is expected to be back for Game 1 of this series after missing all of the regular season with a hip injury. We’ll see if that’s enough to spark another run at the Cup.

Below is a full rundown of the Panthers-Lightning series and how to watch it. The NBC games are all available at NBCSports.com/live and on the NBC Sports app.

All times are ET. *=if necessary

No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning win series 4-2 over No. 2 Florida Panthers

Game 1: Lightning 5, Panthers 4
Game 2: Lightning 3, Panthers 1
Game 3: Panthers 6, Lightning 5
Game 4: Lightning 6, Panthers 2
Game 5: Panthers 4, Lightning 1
Game 6: Lightning 4, Panthers 0