The Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to scratch and claw out of a 2-0 hole and get the game tied at two apiece, but eventually fell to the Florida Panthers with a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2 of Round One Tuesday night at Amerant Bank Arena. Following a 3-2 defeat in Game 1 Sunday afternoon, the Bolts will travel back to Tampa trailing Florida 2-0 in the series.

The Panthers opened the scoring at the 6:16 mark of the first period when Sam Bennett jumped on a rebound in front and fired a backhand shot over the goal line to give Florida an early 1-0 lead.

With Matthew Tkachuk making contact with Andrei Vasilevskiy prior to the goal, Tampa Bay challenged for goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld with the NHL ruling that “the actions of Tampa Bay’s Brandon Hagel caused Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk to contact Andrei Vasilevskiy prior to Sam Bennett’s goal.”

Following the unsuccessful challenge, the Bolts were able to kill off the Panthers power play, but went back to the penalty kill at the 13:16 mark of the first when Mitchell Chaffee was whistled for tripping.

With Chaffee in the box, Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired a shot from the point that was stopped by Vasilevskiy, but Vladimir Tarasenko was able to capitalize on a rebound and push the Florida lead to 2-0 with 4:48 remaining in the opening frame.

With 40 minutes still remaining in the contest, the Lightning showed no signs of quitting and got back within one goal just 48 seconds into the second period when Brayden Point netted his first goal of the postseason.

After Anthony Duclair took a pass from Victor Hedman in the offensive zone, he whipped a shot towards the net that was redirected by Point and past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it a 2-1 game.

Less than five minutes later, the Bolts went to the power play after Carter Verhaeghe was whistled for goaltender interference. Just over 30 seconds into the man advantage, Nikita Kucherov moved the puck to the point for Hedman, who put a pas right in the wheelhouse of Steven Stamkos, allowing the captain to hammer his patented one-timer into the top right corner and tie the game at 2-2 with his second goal of the playoffs.

With the game tied and the ice tilted in Tampa Bay’s favor, Matt Dumba nearly gave the Bolts a 3-2 lead when he had a great look at an open net, but his backhand shot was denied by a sprawling Bobrovsky, who made the save of the playoffs and got a piece of the puck to keep the score even at 2-2.

Following a scoreless third period, Verhaeghe netted the game-winning goal just 2:59 into overtime to give the Panthers the 3-2 win and a 2-0 series lead over the Lightning. Tampa Bay has now dropped 10 of its last 11 overtime games in the postseason while Florida has won 11 consecutive overtime games in the playoffs.

The series will now shift back to Tampa, where the Bolts will look to even the series over the next two contests. The Lightning will hope for a similar outcome to the 2022 Eastern Conference Final, where the Bolts fell into a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers before winning four straight games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Bolts by the Numbers

- Brayden Point scored his first goal of the postseason and has now logged 84 career playoff points in 82 games (41-43—84). Point is 10 points shy of tying Ondrej Palat for the fourth-most playoff points in Lightning franchise history. Point has found the scoresheet in each of Tampa Bay’s playoff games this year (1-1—2).

- Steven Stamkos scored his second power-play goal in as many games and has now recorded 98 career playoff points (47-51—98). With two more points, Stamkos can become just the third player in Lightning franchise history to record 100 playoff points with the club (also: Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov). Stamkos has now scored 19 career power-play goals in the postseason, tied with Kucherov for the most in Tampa Bay franchise history.

- Victor Hedman assisted on both of the Lightning’s goals and has now recorded 26 career multi-point efforts in the playoffs, tying him with Bobby Orr for the 10th-most by a defenseman in NHL history. Hedman’s 90 career playoff assists are the most among all active NHL defensemen and rank tied for 12thamong all defensemen in NHL history (also: Brad Park).

- Anthony Duclair picked up his first point of the postseason with the primary helper on Brayden Point's goal. Duclair has now recorded 15 career playoff points (5-10—15).

- Nikita Kucherov picked up the secondary helper on the Stamkos goal for his second assist in as many games this postseason (0-2—2). Kucherov has now recorded 70 career postseason power-play points (19-51—70), the most among all active skaters in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

- Anthony Cirelli skated in the 100th career NHL playoff game, making him just the seventh skater in Lightning franchise history to skate in 100 playoff games with the club.

- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves on 37 shots and is now up to 3,122 career saves in the postseason. With 33 more saves, Vasilevskiy can pass Mike Vernon and take sole possession of the 11th-most saves among all goaltenders in playoff history.

Bolts Quotes

Jon Cooper: “Tonight, this group, this lineup, was so damn close to getting it done. It just didn't. But there's a lot of things that say, 'Hey, this works.' And there's things to look at and say, 'Clearly, this doesn't work.' I've watched this team the last month and a half here do things that I don't think people thought we could. Now we're here and now we have to do the same thing in the series.”

Steven Stamkos: “You've just got to win the next game. Take care of one game at a time and the swings of momentum and ebbs and flows of a series. Obviously, it's a big hole, but we have done it before. We've just got to win the next game.”

Cooper on the approach over the next two days going into Game 3: “We'll head home here. We've been together a lot here the last five or six days. Go home. Be with the families. Get away from the game. Then we circle back for Game 3 and put a little bit of a better foot forward than we did these last two games. Because we have put a good foot forward. It's just we need to be a little bit better. You learn from moments in series and we'll see how much we've learned.”

Krenner’s Three Stars

1. Carter Verhaeghe

2. Sergei Bobrovsky

3. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Lightning Look Ahead

- Game 3 – Thursday, April 25 vs. Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. ET, AMALIE Arena

- Game 4 – Saturday, April 27 vs. Florida Panthers, 5 p.m. ET, AMALIE Arena