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2015-16 Pre-season game 3: Lightning beat Panthers 4-1 for first exhibition win

The Tampa Bay Lightning employed some precision passing and exploited a shoddy Florida Panthers defense to coast to a 4-1 win at home Friday night.

Tampa Bay's Nikita Nesterov defends against Florida's Reilly Smith in the Lightning's 4-1 win Friday night in Tampa
Tampa Bay's Nikita Nesterov defends against Florida's Reilly Smith in the Lightning's 4-1 win Friday night in Tampa
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 in pre-season exhibition action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Friday night.

After dropping to 0-2 in contests versus the Nashville Predators, the Lightning put forth a solid end-to-end game highlighted by some excellent passing, while cashing in on a sloppy defensive effort, to dispatch the Florida Panthers and get into the win column for the first time this exhibition season.

"It wasn't just the defense; the forwards cost a lot of it too. There were a lot of turnovers and they came right back at us." - Florida Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant

Tampa Bay opened the scoring at 12:29 of the first on a goal by Nikita Kucherov, cleaning up his own second chance rebound, That was generated after a nifty move leading to the initial shot from Matthew Peca who was outstanding all night.

"You know they stress to play the speed and obviously that's how I like to play my game, so it definitely helps when you fit into the system" - Peca

Vladislav Namestnikov picked up the second assist.

The period ended with the Lightning up 1-0.

They doubled the lead at 1:45 of the second when Erik Condra scored on a feed from Brian Boyle, who did a nice job of being patient and waiting out Florida's Alex Petrovic sliding block attempt. Adam Erne also assisted on the play.

"The one thing about Condra, just watching these two games, really he's a smart player and knows where to be on the ice. You have to give him credit; he's playing on two different lines, he has meshed well. He has killed penalties and really fits in well with us." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

Starting netminder Ben Bishop was relieved by Kristers Gudlevskis, having stopped all 18 shots that came his way during the first 29:35. Panthers starter Al Montoya went all the way, giving up four goals on 29 shots. Gudlevskis was 17 for 18.

It was 3-0 at 10:59 with Peca scoring on helpers from Ryan Callahan and Namestnikov.

Just over two minutes later at 12:26, Kucherov scored his second goal of the night, this time getting help from the intriguingly anticipated pairing of Jonathan Drouin and Steven Stamkos.

"I just want to caution everyone that just because you're seeing someone in camp doesn't mean that's how everything is going to play out. But we do want to see them together and see if some chemistry starts to come together." - Cooper

4-0 was the score after two periods.

Florida finally got on the board at 9:05 of the third, a power play goal by Vincent Trocheck that was initially waved off and then allowed after a somewhat lengthy discussion among the on-ice officials.

"They just talked to each other and three of the four guys said that it went in. I think it was in." - Gallant

Brandon Pirri and Jussi Jokinen picked up the assists.

The Lightning will be in action again tomorrow night, visiting the America Airlines Arena to face the Dallas Stars.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning were 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-4 killing penalties.
  • The Panthers outshot the Lightning 36 to 29, with 27 of their 36 coming in the final two periods.
  • Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin each notched +3 on the night.
  • Anton Stralman led Tampa Bay with 22:31 on ice and Florida's Aaron Ekblad led all skaters with 25:10