Lightning make NHL history by starting all-Black line in game against Panthers


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Daniel Walcott was already excited to be in his first NHL game. He got even more excited when he got to see how his debut would happen.

The Tampa Bay Lightning started three Black forwards in their regular-season finale against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, a rarity in NHL history — if not an absolute first. Walcott, Mathieu Joseph and Gemel Smith were out together for the opening face-off and didn’t know they would be starting together until just minutes before game time.

“First of all, they’re all in the NHL for a reason,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “They deserve to be here and have worked their tails off. To have them all together, they had a little chemistry. Moving forward in the league, you hope it isn’t a story anymore and will be the norm. It was a pretty cool moment for all those guys.”

Florida won the game, 4-0. The teams will meet in the first round of the NHL playoffs that start this weekend.

WATCH | Bolts make history starting all-Black line against Panthers:

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