It took an extra day for the Devils to find out their playoff opponent.
The Panthers’ 4-2 win over the Bruins in Boston — a makeup game played Sunday night after snow forced a postponement earlier in the season — means the Lightning are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the Devils will be heading to the sunshine state.
The Devils’ first playoff series since 2012 begins 7 p.m. Thursday at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The matchup is a favorable one for the Devils, who swept the three regular-season meetings between the teams. The Devils are one of two teams (along with the Golden Knights) not to lose to the Lightning this season. They should be well-rested as star Taylor Hall, forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, and defenseman Sami Vatanen sat out the team’s loss to the Capitals on Saturday in its regular-season finale.