Penalty shots, 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout. Fans got to witness virtually every modern gimmick in the NHL rule book tonight. In the first of five meetups between the two Florida teams, the Florida Panthers came out on top in a game that also saw last-second heroics in regulation from the Panthers and a lead that changed hands five different times.
"We had the game. We played well. We locked it down, got the lead. It's just the way the season's been going for us. We'll take the point and regroup here." - Steven Stamkos
Florida started things off at 4:48 of the first, with Jussi Jokinen scoring on a wraparound. He was assisted by Vincent Trocheck and Brian Campbell.
The Lightning tied it up at 15:22 when Cedric Paquette slammed home a rebound on a shot by J.T. Brown.
The period ended in a 1-1 deadlock
Tampa Bay took their first lead of the game at 1:02 of the second on a goal by Vladislav Namestikov with an assist from Steven Stamkos.
A defensive lapse by the Lightning led to a turnover that let Nick Bjugstad break in alone and score on Ben Bishop at and tie the game again at 2:39 FL turnover gives puck to 27, scores on breakaway 18 11
At 4:47, Matt Carle was whistled for hooking Brandon Pirri on a breakaway. Pirri converted the resultant penalty shot to give Florida the lead.
Anton Stralman knotted it once again at 7:49, scoring his first of the season, converting a nifty rebound on a shot from Alex Killorn. Victor Hedman picked up the secondary assist.
3-3 was the score entering the third period.
The Lightning regained the lead again at 9:56 when Namestikiv netted his second goal of the game, getting help from Brown and Stamkos.
The Panthers pulled goaltender Roberto Luongo with just under two minutes remaining. with 43 seconds to go, Ryan Callahan was called for Delay of Game, giving the Panthers a second extra skater and the face-off in the Lightning zone. It took all of five seconds to convert off that face-off with Aaron Ekblad scoring on assists from Smith and Dave Bolland.
The teams headed into overtime tied 4-4.
1:51 into the 3-on-3, Bolland hooked Stamkos but the captain was unable to convert on the penalty shot.
In the shootout, Pirri was the only skater for either side to score, giving Florida the win.
The two teams will meet again in Sunrise on Monday.
- Three of the four meetings between the Lightning and Panthers last season were decided by a single goal.
- The Lightning are oh-fer in shootouts this season; not only 0-2 in games decided but no shots converted in six attempts.
- Brian Boyle led all skaters with four blocked shots.
- This was the first multi-assist game and fourth multi-point game of J.T. Brown's career.
- Luongo's 406th win puts him just one behind Glenn Hall for eighth place all-time. He also now trails former Panther netminder John Vanbiesbrouck by just five games (with 877) for eighth place all-time in games played.
- This was the seventh time this season the Lightning scored at least four goals. They're 5-0-2 when doing so.
- On a night when nine different Panthers registered points, team scoring leader Jaromir Jagr was shut out.
- Matt Taormina, called up from Syracuse yesterday, was a healthy scratch.
- The Lightning honored Brittany Vanhook as the eighth Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Vanhook, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Epilepsy Services Foundation. Vanhook was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 but her condition has not affected her devotion to public service. She has been a driving force behind the success of Brittany's Blankets for Epilepsy, a program that provides hand-made blankets to organizations that serve the homeless. An estimated 5,000 people have been touched by her charitable efforts. Additionally, she has also spent over 200 hours in making blankets for the program and spends countless hours making arts and crafts items for fundraising events. Tonight's Lightning Community Hero continues to lead by example and will pursue to give to those in need along with her friends, family, donors and the community. The legacy that she wants to leave is for people to not feel sorry for her or reject her because of her condition but to be cared for and loved like other children who are experiencing the same condition.