Lightning Scratched by Panthers in Home Opener

By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

TAMPA BAY (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning went on the road and dropped 4-0f-5 games, then returned to the St. Pete Times Forum and recorded their fifth straight loss with a 7-4 result against the Florida Panthers.

Special teams propelled the Panthers to victory Monday night with five power-play goals and one shorthanded. Florida now has eight power-play goals through four games this season, which is impressive seeing that it took them 29 games to reach that mark last season.

The bolts racked up 11 penalties on the night, which amounted to 33 minutes of playing without a full team on the ice.

A sold out crowd at the forum cheered on their team, and the momentum stayed equally balanced throughout the entire first period. Tomas Kopecky opened the scoring for the Panthers with an early power-play goal to grab an early lead and silence the home fans momentarily.

Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman responded for the Lightning with one goal apiece to give the home team a 2-1 lead. Stephen Weiss scored a late goal  in the first period for the Panthers to knot the game at 2-2.

For the remainder of the game, Tampa Bay played catch-up. Florida went up 4-2 approaching the third period, but Vincent Lecavalier kept it close with a rocket shot passed Florida goaltender Jose Theodore to bring the bolts to within one.

Steven Stamkos scored in the third period to keep pace with the Panthers’ dominant special teams play, but in the end Florida put away three more goals in the last period and skated to a comfortable win against their in-state rivals.

Dwayne Roloson stopped 26-0f-33 shots, and on the other end Theodore stopped 35 shots and allowed four in route to the Panthers’ third win in four games.

It is still early in the season, but bolts nation has a right to be frustrated at this point.

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