Sunrise, Fla. (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped the Panther’s three-game home win streak with a goal from Steven Stamkos 2:29 into overtime to get the 2-1 win at the BankAtlantic Center Friday night.
The Florida foes played a hard-fought game before a sell out crowd in South Florida to open up the home-and home series, and now the Panthers will have a shot to even the score tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.
The much improved special teams play and a solid night in net for Mathieu Garon ultimately helped the bolts limit scoring opportunities for the red hot Panthers. On three Florida power-plays , the Lightning were able to keep the cats scoreless and congested the blue line to keep the surge out of their own zone.
Tomas Fleischmann struck first for the Panthers, taking a perfect pass from Stephen Weiss for a top shelf goal to make it 1-0. Weiss made the scoring opportunity possible with a key shot block which set up the first line of offense for the easy put away.
Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov nearly extended the Panther lead with some nifty puck work in the Lightning zone, but his shot deflected off the post and was cleared by the bolts.
Vincent Lecavalier tied the game less than a minute after Kulikov’s chance, finishing a rebound from Martin St. Louis’ shot to bring down the brick wall put up by Florida goaltender Jose Theodore.
Needless to say, it was a much needed win for the bolts. A 7-1 loss earlier in the week against the Toronto Maple Leafs really hurt the morale of this team, but a road win against the first place Panthers is just what the doctor ordered.