Certainly, there is disappointment for the Lightning that they couldn't win this game. They took a 5-3 lead into the third period (making this the first game all season that the Lightning lost when leading after two). They surrendered the tying goal with just 3:07 remaining the in game. They squandered a record-setting period - for the first time in playoff franchise history, they scored five goals in a frame.
But that disappointment isn't the main takeaway from Game Three. The Florida Panthers played with the desperation and urgency of a team staring at a potential 3-0 series deficit and they were deserving of the victory. If not for Andrei Vasilevskiy's goaltending, the Panthers would have scored a lot more than six goals. They were dangerous throughout the night in the offensive zone, even during the period in which they allowed five to the Lightning. In that second period, the Panthers posted 17 shots on net (scoring once). Vasilevskiy's work in the period might have been his most spectacular, as he denied scoring chance after scoring chance.
Of course, the Lightning had their strong moments in the offensive zone, too. When they were able to apply pressure, they created scoring chances of their own. But from the third period on, the Lightning had very little activity in the offensive zone, resulting in a large Florida puck possession advantage. With the way the Panthers were attacking the Lightning end, they were able to keep up that relentless pressure and rally from the two-goal deficit.
There were points in Game One when the Panthers used their team speed to create problems for the Lightning. Tampa Bay did a better job in Game Two of slowing down the Panthers off the rush and, if the Panthers had the puck in the offensive zone, limiting scoring chances. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they did neither in Game Three.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Jonathan Huberdeau - Panthers. Three assists.
2. Carter Verhaeghe - Panthers.
3. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 41 saves.