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Panthers Wrap-Up: Lightning 3, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 2 0 0 2
Lightning 2 0 1 0 3
FLA - K. Versteeg (2), T. Kopecky (11)
TBL - V. Lecavalier (7), M. St Louis (7), PP - S. Stamkos (20)

SUNRISE, Fla —  Steven Stamkos snapped a third-period tie with his NHL-leading 20th goal, and the Tampa Bay Lightning held on to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night despite recording a season-low 13 shots.

Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning, and Anders Lindback made 37 saves. St. Louis added had two assists for the Lightning, whose previous low for shots this season was 19..

"You have to stick with it the whole 60 minutes. We had maybe two minutes we took off and all of a sudden it’s a good lead and it’s going to end up biting us so you have to play the full 60 minutes. I like the way we battled today, it’s something we were missing the last few games and today it was there but sometimes it’s a tough one."

- Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky.
1. All But The Score Sheet: The Panthers recorded 16 shots in the entire game on Sunday against Montreal. They bested that total in the first period alone yet found themselves trailing 2-0. Florida controlled play in Tampa's zone most of the period as they outshot the Lightning 17-3 but it was Tampa, thanks to timely shots that held the lead. They did it early too as they scored just 1:36 into the game. Like two of the three previous games, it came on the opponent's first shot as Martin St Louis set up Vincent Lecavalier who deked Jacob Markstrom and slid the puck into the back of the net. Florida buzzed the Tampa zone the first but Anders Lindback came up with some big stops. St Louis would give the visitors a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission with 2:12 to play as he took a cross ice feed from Alex Killorn and scored into the open net while falling down.

2. Flipping The Switch: Whatever went on in the locker room, it certainly got the Panthers offenses clicking as they found the back of the net just 13 seconds into the second period. Kris Versteeg took a shot and Marcel Goc corraled the puck behind the net before finding Versteeg once again out front for the forward's second of the season. The Panthers continued to outwork the Lightning and were rewarded with a tie game as the line of Tomas Kopecky, Shawn Matthias and Jack Skille continued their strong play of late. Skille outworked a Tampa defensemen behind the net for the puck and fed Kopecky for his 11th of the season. The Panthers continued their offensive dominance, outshooting the Lightning 13-3 in the period.

3. A Double Tough Loss: Tied after 40 minutes, the Panthers had the momentum on their side the whole night but it didn't end with the two points that they desired and probably deserved. Tampa's offense awoke a little in the third and was rejuvanated with a power play thanks to a trip on superstar Steven Stamkos after he was denied on the breakaway by Jacob Markstrom. The Lightning star gave the Bolts a lead just 37 seconds into the man advantage, scoring from the goal line off Markstrom for the 3-2 lead with 5:30 gone in the period. Later, the Panthers suffered another injury as Versteeg raced for the puck in the offensive zone and collided with Tampa defenseman Radko Gudas. The forward had to be helped off the ice and didn't put any pressure on his right leg. He'll be evaluated further on Wednesday. The Panthers had a couple of great chances to tie it, including Skille and Kopecky combining to find Matthias on a breakaway with 3:40 to play but only to be denied by Lindback as he tried to go five-hole. The Panthers couldn't find the equalizer with Markstrom pulled for the extra skater and fell to the Lightning despite outshooting them by a 39-13 margin.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@sportsfan92: Hurts to see the @FlaPanthers struggle like this. Injuries and lack of a veteran presence really hurting us.

@ashaustin32: Versteeg can't be hurt..i'm going to Panthers games in April :( #LoveSteeger @FlaPanthers

@TanishaEchos: So close, but not close enough. @FlaPanthers

@dsilv_tsd: Good try tonight boys, you played hard. Keep playing hard and the wins will come. Go Panthers!

@305MiamiTeams: Still bummed #FlaPanthers lost when they were by far the better team tonight. Outshot the #Lightning 39-11.......

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Lukáš Theimer: Does this never end or what omg??

Phillip Morris: if we're giving up THREE goals on only 13 shots, then it should be obvious that we have a goalie issue thats not being addressed

Rosa Ruiz: I'm Sorry for us , next time guys. Let's go Cats.

Anthony LaFon: I do hope Versteeg is ok.

Eric Rapaport: What an absolute DISASTER of a season, huh? Key injuries, terrible goaltending, and a lack of scoring production is never a good recipe for success..

1. The Panthers found themselves trailing 1-0 for the third time in the last four games after the opponent took their first shot of the game. All three first shots came against Southeast opponents (Washington, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay).

11. Tying the game at two in the second period, Tomas Kopecky recorded his 11th goal of the season, already one more than last season's total (recorded in 80 games) and it was his 11th point (9-2-4) in the last 14 games for the team.

13. Kris Versteeg got the Panthers on the board 13 seconds into the second period. It was the fastest the Panthers scored a goal to start a period this season, easily besting the 48 seconds that Shawn Matthias took to score in the first period, ironically also at home against Tampa Bay, on Feb. 16.

13. The 13 shots allowed was the lowest of the season (previous low of 20 Feb. 3 at Buffalo) and tied for the third lowest allowed in franchise history (other instance came Oct. 10, 2010 in Edmonton). It was one off the franchise low at home (Oct. 28, 1997 vs Los Angeles) and two off the franchise low of 11 recorded Mar. 9, 2010 in Minnesota (SO win)..

26. The Panthers outshot Tampa by a 39-13 margin (+26) differential. The +26 shot differential was tied for the fifth highest total in franchise history (also recorded a +26 Dec. 26, 2001 in Atlanta). Five of the top six highest shot differentials have come at home. The largest shot differential was +37, recorded on Jan. 13, 2007 against Washington.

Martin St Louis
Had a hand in all three goals for the Lightning as he set up Lecavalier on the first, scored the second and picked up the second helper on the game winner in the third.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, 1 Shot, +1, 21:32 TOI
Florida will travel to Boston for a Thursday tilt against the Bruins. Boston currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points (17-4-3) but is only one point behind Montreal for the Conference lead. The Bruins earned a 4-1 victory over the Panthers on Feb. 24 in Sunrise in the first meeting of the season between the clubs.Boston had a two-goal advantage after two periods of play only to see the Penguins score three goals in a four minute span in the third period to take away the two points on Tuesday night. Boston is led offensively by Patrice Bergeron (22 points in 24 games) and Brad Marchand (12 goals, 21 points in 23 games) while Tuukka Rask has a 13-2-3 record between the pipes with a .927 save percentage and a 1.96 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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