This was an entertaining, well-played game. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they had the critical turnover late in the third period that led to the winning goal.
Similar to the Lightning's game in Montreal on October 27, this contest had the feel of a playoff game. Both teams competed extremely hard and skated well. Yes, there were turnovers on both sides, but those turnovers were often forced. In other words, there was aggressive play from the team without the puck for much of the evening.
From the Lightning's perspective, they played well enough to win - or at least to get a point. They fired 35 shots on net and generated about 20 scoring chances. Roberto Luongo was fantastic in net for the Panthers, though. Not only did he make saves to deny Lightning scoring chances, he didn't allow many rebounds. Ultimately, the only shot that beat him resulted from a strange, broken play in which the puck came out from behind the Florida net and Ondrej Palat stuffed it in.
So this was a tough one for the Lightning to swallow - and it seems as though they've had a lot of those sorts of games recently in Sunrise. Because of Luongo, they didn't get rewarded on their scoring chances. They also couldn't take advantage of Ben Bishop's performance. Bishop allowed two goals, but like Luongo, made some spectacular saves throughout the night.
After the Montreal loss, the Lightning's play dipped and they dropped their next two contests. They need to ensure that they bring the same level as they did in this game when they host the Islanders on Thursday.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Reilly Smith's winning goal.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Roberto Luongo - Panthers. 34 saves.
- Reilly Smith - Panthers. GWG.
- Ben Bishop - Lightning. 29 saves.