Despite getting the win and improving to 3-0-0 on the season, the Lightning didn't play their best in this game. Particularly in the third period. In the end, however, they made a key play in the closing seconds to force overtime and won the game in a shootout.
The Lightning were determined to have a better start than they did in their first two games of the season - contests in which they fell behind 2-0 in the first period. They played a strong opening 10 minutes, generating several good scoring chances on Florida goalie James Reimer. But in the second half of the period, the Lightning's game got sloppier. Their passing was off and they didn't execute plays as well as they did in the opening minutes.
That carried over into the early part of the second, when, while on the power play, they surrendered a two-on-one rush and a shorthanded goal to Colton Sceviour. Under four minutes later, the Lightning tied the game when Nikita Kucherov stole the puck from Aaron Ekblad behind the Panthers net and centered to Alex Killorn. Killorn tallied his third goal in as many games this year. That goal sparked the Bolts, who had the better chances and more shots for the rest of the period. They grabbed the lead when Ondrej Palat roofed a rebound of a jam-in attempt from Steven Stamkos. One of the Lightning's best stretches in the game came in the closing minutes of the second. Reimer made a nice save on a Braydon Coburn shot and then, on the next shift, Killorn hit the post. The Lightning finished the second with a strong penalty kill that carried over into the start of the third.
But the third period belonged to the Panthers. They amped up the pressure and the Lightning spent much of the frame back on their heels. Florida tied the game at 5:26 when Vincent Trocheck roofed a shot from close range after a scramble play around the Lightning net. And with just over four minutes left, Mike Matheson netted his first NHL goal during a delayed penalty call on the Lightning.
With just 20 seconds left, the puck was deep in the Lightning end. They worked it quickly up ice, retrieved it in the Florida end and Stamkos set up Hedman at the left point. Hedman faked a shot and passed it back to Stamkos, who wired a one-timer from the side of the net into the top corner. It was an incredible play that tied the score with just over five seconds left.
A scoreless OT led to the shootout - and a Lightning win. They overcame Trocheck's controversial tying goal, one that was awarded on video review. But a potential shootout loss was averted when Brayden Point netted the game-winner in the sixth round.
Even with the poor third period and a rough night for the power play (0-3 with a shorthanded goal against), the Lightning found a way to get another win. They'll look to complete a sweep of the homestand when Colorado visits on Thursday.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Stamkos' tying goal.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Steven Stamkos - Lightning. Tying goal in closing seconds. Assist.
- Brayden Point - Lightning. GWG in shootout.
- Vincent Trocheck - Panthers. Goal.