R1, Gm2: Lightning @ Panthers Recap

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Carter Verhaeghe scored 2:59 into overtime, and the Florida Panthers extended their series lead with a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday.

Verhaeghe took a pass from Anton Lundell in the low slot and roofed a backhand from along the goal line on the right side.

Game 3 of the best-of-7 series will be in Tampa Bay on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MAX, TBS, BSFLX, BSSUN, BSFL, TVAS2, SN).

Florida’s all-time leader with 17 Stanley Cup Playoff goals, Verhaeghe has scored five in overtime, which is tied for third in NHL history. Only Joe Sakic (eight) and Maurice Richard (six) have more.

“Those are some pretty good players,” Verhaeghe said. “Anytime we go to OT, we’re pretty confident. We know it can go either way, but at the end of the day, it’s one shot and someone has to make a play eventually. Being in the conversation with those guys is crazy.”

TBL@FLA R1, Gm2: Verhaeghe thrusts it into the twine for OT winner

Sam Bennett had a goal and an assist, Verhaeghe also had an assist, and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for Florida, the No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Division. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves, including a spectacular second-period stop on Matt Dumba that kept the game tied.

“If you understand what your game is supposed to look like, you have something to hold on to,” said Panthers coach Paul Maurice, whose team has won 11 consecutive overtime playoff games dating to 2021.

“This is the style that we’re supposed to play. We have a lot of guys who have scored overtime goals. Carter Verhaeghe should think he can score an overtime goal because it has happened before. Matthew [Tkachuk] as well. We have guys who have recent positive experiences, so they’re excited about overtime.”

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored, and Victor Hedman had two assists for Tampa Bay, the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves.

The Lightning have lost 11 of their past 12 playoff overtime games dating to 2021.

“Unfortunately for us, we’re finding ourselves behind,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, whose team has not led in the series. “It is a tough league to come back in, especially in the playoffs.”

TBL@FLA R1, Gm2: Stamkos pounds in a PPG from the circle

Bennett put Florida up 1-0 at 6:16 of the first period when he followed up a rebound of Tkachuk’s shot with a backhand from the left hash marks.

Tarasenko extended the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 15:12. After Vasilevskiy stopped Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot from the point, Bennett got to the rebound in front and fed Tarasenko below the right face-off circle for a one-timer.

Point cut it to 2-1 at 48 seconds of the second period. Anthony Duclair’s shot from the right point went in off Point's leg while the forward was while tied up with Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad in front.

Stamkos tied it 2-2 on a power play at 5:46 with a one-timer from the left circle.

“Both goalies made some amazing saves,” said Stamkos, the Lightning's captain. “This game probably could have ended a lot earlier. We pushed and pushed, and maybe we sat back at the end and played a little too tentative. … We’re down 2-0 and now have to go home to win some games.”

TBL@FLA R1, Gm2: Bobrovsky makes a superb save on Dumba's blast

Bobrovsky kept the game tied with his highlight-reel save at 14:03. He got over from the right post and, with his back to the play, made a diving save on Dumba with the back of his arm from close range.

“My vantage point was the bench, and I was in shock," Ekblad said. "It was incredible. You love to see it.”

Bobrovsky chalked his save up to desperation.

“I threw as much of my body as possible,” Bobrovsky said. “I was able to make the save. It’s a big win, we have a great group of guys and it’s a tight group. This is good for us.”

NOTES: Bennett left the game early in the second period after getting hit in the hand with a shot. There was no update. … Tarasenko scored his 45th playoff goal in his 99th game. The only active players with as many goals before their 100th playoff game are Alex Ovechkin (48) and Nathan MacKinnon (45). … Patrick Kane, Corey Perry and Glenn Anderson are tied with Verhaeghe with five overtime playoff goals.

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