Facing elimination and a 3-0 deficit in the series in Game 4 on Saturday, the Lightning took the first step in digging themselves out of the hole with a 6-3 victory over the Panthers to keep their season alive.

The win didn’t come without a touch of adversity from Tampa Bay’s perspective. After building a three-goal lead in the first, the Panthers began to chip away in the middle frame. Florida trimmed the Lightning’s lead down to 4-3 in the second period, but a strong finish from Tampa Bay ensured that would be as close as they’d get.

Steven Stamkos and Brandon Hagel paced the Lightning offense with each recording a pair of goals.

Andrei Vasilevskiy got the victory in goal, stopping 22 shots.

Tampa Bay got a boost on the blue line, as Mikhail Sergachev returned to action for the first time since February 7.

The Bolts will try to extend the series again when they head back to Sunrise for Game 5 on Monday night.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL 1, FLA 0
8:54 Steven Stamkos (4) – Brayden Point, Brandon Hagel – PPG
For the first time in the series, the Lightning opened the scoring, jumping in front courtesy of a power play goal from Steven Stamkos. Brayden Point threaded a pass through to Stamkos at the bottom of the left circle that was promptly one-timed past Sergei Bobrovsky.

TBL 2, FLA 0
12:09 Brandon Hagel (2) – Victor Hedman – SHG
In the closing seconds of a Florida power play, Victor Hedman forced the puck ahead to Brandon Hagel in the neutral zone. Hagel carried the play to the high slot before firing a wrist shot through a moving screen and by Bobrovsky to double Tampa Bay’s lead.

TBL 3, FLA 0
15:07 Brayden Point (2) – Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman
Brayden Point’s speed on the rush was key to the Lightning extending their lead to three with less than five minutes to play in the period. While skating 4-on-4, Point got a step on Gustav Forsling flying down the right wing. As Bobrovsky went to hug his near post, his shoulder slipped, causing him to lose balance. At that point it was too late to recover, as Point quickly circled the net and deposited his wraparound attempt at the far post.

2nd Period
TBL 3, FLA 1
4:17 Carter Verhaeghe (3) – Matthew Tkachuk, Anton Lundell
Coverage broke down for the Bolts in front of their own net, allowing Matthew Tkachuk to set up Carter Verhaeghe on the near side of the ice for the Panthers’ first goal of the game.

TBL 4, FLA 1
9:40 Brandon Hagel (3) – Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli
It took the Bolts just over five minutes to respond and go back up by three. Again skating 4-on-4, Hagel got his second goal of the night, letting a wrist shot fly from the high slot that beat Bobrovsky.

TBL 4, FLA 2
11:10 Sam Reinhart (3) – Brandon Montour, Matthew Tkachuk
In the closing seconds of that same 4-on-4, Andrei Vasilevskiy stoned Sam Reinhart’s chance from the slot but couldn’t control the rebound. Reinhart eventually regained possession and fired home the second chance on his backhand.

TBL 4, FLA 3
14:33 Oliver Ekman-Larsson (1) – Evan Rodrigues, Eetu Luostarinen
While the Lightning were clamoring for a penalty after Hagel was taken down in the offensive zone, Florida quickly took the puck the opposite direction and made it a one-goal game. The Panthers had numbers going the other way and a feed from Evan Rodrigues to Oliver Ekman-Larsson was fired past Vasilevskiy.

3rd Period
TBL 5, FLA 3
9:34 Steven Stamkos (5) – Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point
Having seen their once three-goal lead trimmed to one in the second period, Stamkos provided a key insurance tally midway through the final frame. Nikita Kucherov protected the puck from Niko Mikkola high in the zone and set up Stamkos for his second goal of the game on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

TBL 6, FLA 3
16:22 Nick Paul (2) – Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman – PPG
Back-to-back Florida penalties gave the Bolts a two-man advantage and a chance to ice their first win of the series. Nick Paul put to rest any doubt about the outcome when he beat Bobrovsky in tight to make it 6-3 late in the third.