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game recap

Reilly Smith lifts Panthers to victory

Scores game-winner against Lightning in third period; Roberto Luongo makes 34 saves

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Reilly Smith's timely goal and maybe a little superstition helped Roberto Luongo end his personal losing streak.

Smith scored the game-winning goal with 4:28 left, and Luongo made 34 saves to help the Florida Panthers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at BB&T Center on Monday.

Luongo had lost four games in a row, his longest losing streak since January 2015 when he lost five straight. After sporting a thick beard since the summer, Luongo was clean-shaven when he took the ice.

 

WATCH: All Lightning vs. Panthers highlights 

 

Ironically, Luongo was wearing a large black apron that said "Vinnie's Barber Shop" after the game, signifying his selection by his teammates as the Panthers player of the game.

"I want to look like a 25-year-old so I can play like one," Luongo said. "Yeah, it was time, and I'm glad it paid off."

Video: TBL@FLA: Luongo denies Kucherov, Namestnikov in 1st

Smith scored with a wrist shot high to the blocker side from the left faceoff circle to make it 2-1 after stealing the puck from defenseman Victor Hedman just inside the Lightning blue line.

Smith, who had an NHL career-high 25 goals last season, scored for the second consecutive game after having one goal in the first 11 games.

"It's still early in the season, but it's obviously nice," Smith said. "It's a little bit of a confidence booster."

Jonathan Marchessault and Derek MacKenzie also scored for the Panthers (6-6-1), who began a three-game homestand.

Marchessault's goal was his seventh, matching the NHL career high he set last season when he was a member of the Lightning. He gave Florida a 1-0 lead 3:10 into the game.

MacKenzie scored into an empty net with 36 seconds left.

Ondrej Palat scored for the Lightning (7-5-1), and Ben Bishop made 29 saves.

"I thought we played a pretty good game," Bishop said. "We did everything but score. Luongo played well. It comes down to who makes the last error. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't."

 

Goal of the game

Smith was the lone forechecker when Hedman tried to deke him near the Tampa Bay blue line. After stealing the puck, Smith skated toward the left faceoff circle before shooting. "Plays happen, but cannot happen at that point in the game," Hedman said. "You've got to get rid of the puck quicker. You learn from it and look forward. One mistake costs you the game."

Video: TBL@FLA: Smith steals puck, pots late go-ahead goal

 

Save of the game

Florida led 1-0 late in the second period when Jared McCann came close to padding the lead. After the puck came to the front of the net, McCann had Bishop on the ice and out of position, but he couldn't get a shot off on his forehand. He then backhanded a shot that Bishop was able to stop with his pads just before it crossed the red line. The play was reviewed after the next stoppage, and the no-goal call was confirmed.

 Video: TBL@FLA: Bishop robs McCann with strong pad save

 

Unsung moment of the game

Tampa Bay came in with six power-play goals in 19 opportunities over its previous four games but couldn't convert on a 5-on-3 in the first period that lasted 46 seconds. "That was probably the turning point in the game, killing that 5-on-3 off against that team," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We did a real good job."

 

Highlight of the game

Tampa Bay's only goal came on a fluky play at 1:15 of the third period. After a dump-in behind the Florida net, defenseman Alex Petrovic went to move the puck from his backhand to his forehand, but it skipped over his stick and slid right to the side of the net. Palat was right there to shoot the puck, which went into Luongo's pads and across the goal line to tie the game 1-1.

Video: TBL@FLA: Palat jams home puck after turnover

 

They said it

"I've been feeling good overall. Every game there's maybe a play I'd like to be better on and sometimes it's a little bit timely, it's a bad time and it costs us a game or something. All in all, I just tried to stay with it and not get frustrated. I'm happy that we were able to get a big goal to pull out the two points." -- Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo

 

"I thought we played well enough to win the game. In the end, it's how you manage the puck in the last five minutes of the game and we didn't manage it well. It ended up in the back of the net." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

 

"I thought we played a pretty good game. We did everything but score. Luongo played well. It comes down to who makes the last error. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't." -- Lightning goalie Ben Bishop

 

Need to know

Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr, who did not play after the first period in a 4-2 loss at the Washington Capitals on Saturday because of a groin injury, was back in the lineup but left in the third period. Gallant said Jagr suffered a similar injury but to his other leg. "Same thing," Gallant said. "Little charley horse in the groin. Day-to-day. It's the same thing. It's not serious. He's old, he cramps up a little bit." … MacKenzie's goal ended a 25-game goal drought dating back to last season. … Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin missed his third game because of an upper-body injury.

 

What's next

Lightning: Home against the New York Islanders on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, MSG +, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Home against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Smith's late goal lifts Panthers over Lightning, 3-1

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