Newcomer Ryan Shannon led the way offensively as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 in preseason action at the St. Pete Times Forum. Signed as a free agent from the Ottawa Senators in the offseason, Shannon scored two goals, both in the second period.
Mattias Rittola opened the scoring for the Lightning on a power play goal with assists from Pavel Kubina and Brett Connolly in front of the net at 8:06 of the first period. Shannon's goals (with assists from Kubina and Marc-Andre Bergeron on the first goal and Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark on the second) extended the lead to 3-0 at the end of two.
The third period opened with the Lightning's Carter Ashton scoring with an assist from Eric Brewer, increasing the lead to 4-0 at the :23 mark. The Panthers drew within two after goals from Jack Skille and Michal Repik but Vincent Lecavalier ended the scoring for the night with a goal at 18:46, with assists from Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman. Dwayne Roloson played the entire game in net for Tampa Bay, stopping 31 of 33 shots.
As has been the case in previous games this preseason, special teams got plenty of action as the Lightning drew eight penalties and also had four power plays. They finished two of four with the man advantage and successfully killed seven of eight shorthanded situations.
The Lightning and Panthers square off again tomorrow night in Sunrise, Florida.
NOTES: This was the only preseason game played at the St. Pete Times Forum this season...The extensive renovation project taking place at the Forum is not finished so doors opened at 5:30 PM with a start time of 7:30 PM, a half hour earlier than usual, to accomodate any potential issues with the ingress of fans; building officials reported no problems and said everything ran smoothly...The Panthers played their first game since playing two games against the Nashville Predators on Monday, believed to be the first exhibition doubleheader in NHL history.