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game recap

Hoffman hat trick helps Panthers split home-and-home with Lightning

Bobrovsky, Quenneville get first win with Florida

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

Hoffman's hat trick

TBL@FLA: Hoffman records second career hatty

Mike Hoffman scored two goals in the 2nd period, and added another in the 3rd period to complete the hat trick in a win against the Lightning

  • 01:52 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Mike Hoffman scored a hat trick, and the Florida Panthers held on for a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their home opener at BB&T Center on Saturday.

The Panthers split the season-opening home-and-home to give coach Joel Quenneville and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky their first win with Florida.

"We want to make sure we play well at home and it will be a tough two points for teams coming in here," Quenneville said. "Great crowd, great energy. We had some great momentum with [Hoffman] on a roll there. When you play big down at the end, you find a way to win. That will help us going forward."


[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Panthers highlights]


Gemel Smith, Steven Stamkos and Mathieu Joseph scored for the Lightning, who defeated the Panthers 5-2 at Amalie Arena on Thursday. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves.

"Right now you sit back, it's a loss, but a lot to build on," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "Unfortunately, we lost tonight, but I didn't think they really took it to us tonight. We had our chances to win it and they just got the better of us."

Noel Acciari scored his first goal with Florida, which had lost seven in a row to Tampa Bay, and Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists. Bobrovsky made 30 saves, including two in the final four seconds.

"Those are the reasons why we won this hockey game," Hoffman said of Bobrovsky. "Without those saves, they probably have seven or eight (goals) and it's a different story. But he kept us in it, gave everyone life on the bench, and then we went out there and were able to capitalize on a couple of our chances."

Video: TBL@FLA: Bobrovsky's gorgeous glove save on Kucherov

Tampa Bay was assessed three minor penalties in a span of 5:06 in the second period, including the first for having too many men on the ice. Hoffman scored on the second and third power plays.

"Obviously that was a big turning point," Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "The too many men was just unlucky, and we did a good job killing it off, but then we fell into that penalty trap a little bit and they obviously were able to capitalize on it. It's definitely a lesson that we can learn from, especially here on the road in a good atmosphere."

Hoffman gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 9:39 of the second period with a wrist shot from the right circle before he scored at 11:05 from almost the same spot, each on a setup by Huberdeau.

"Huberdeau made some great passes over to me," Hoffman said. "It's on myself to put those in the net, and tonight everything seemed to be working. It's a fun to play when things are going your way. You lick your chops when you get those opportunities. Obviously there's some good players on our power play and they can find me in open ice. I try to get myself open as much as I can."

Video: TBL@FLA: Hoffman redirects puck to complete hat trick

Hoffman completed his second NHL hat trick 17 seconds into the third period when he tipped Aaron Ekblad's shot from the point to make 4-1. His first was Nov. 29, 2016, for the Ottawa Senators against the Buffalo Sabres.

Acciari made it 3-0 at 12:32, seconds after knocking Shattenkirk to the ice with a body check into the boards. Smith made it 3-1 at 16:23 when he poked a loose puck.

Stamkos made it 4-2 at 6:40 before Joseph scored at 15:41 to get the Lightning within 4-3.

"What I really liked was our push back," Cooper said. "It was tough giving up that goal early in the third, but I thought we took over the game, even down 4-1, and had our chances at the end and unfortunately we couldn't do it."

Video: TBL@FLA: Stamkos claps a one-timer past Bobrovsky


They said it

"We took three [penalties] in a row there and they capitalized on two of them, obviously swung the momentum of the game. But you take that part of the game out and we played well." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"It's great, especially in the home opener. It's a huge win against a really good team. Everybody contributed and it's a huge win for us and a huge win for our fans." -- Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky


Need to know

Florida's last win against Tampa Bay was Oct. 7, 2017, 5-4 in their 2017-18 home opener. ... Tampa Bay began a six-game road trip; it does not play at home until Oct. 19. ... Hoffman's hat trick tied the Panthers record for earliest in a season. Dave Gagner scored three goals in the second game of the 1998-99 season, a 5-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 4, 1998.

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Hoffman, Zibanejad net three


What's next

Lightning: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-CR, SUN, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Video: Hoffman, Panthers power past Lightning

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