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Panthers Wrap-Up: Lightning 6, Panthers 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 0 0 0 1
Lightning 1 3 2 0 6
FLA - PPG - S. Bergenheim (5)
TBL - A. Killorn (9), T. Johnson (9), PPG - V. Filppula (13), M. St Louis (16), N. Kucherov (4), JT Brown (3)

SUNRISE —  ( - Martin St. Louis and the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to roll despite the absence of Steven Stamkos.

St. Louis had a goal and two assists and J.T. Brown scored twice Monday night, leading the Lightning to a 6-1 win against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Tampa Bay has won five in a row, a season high.

"I've always said, to be successful you have to have a bad memory and hopefully just use these next three days to kind of recharge a little bit and hopefully that will do us well coming back for (four) more home games here after Christmas."

- Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen
1. A Short Lead: It was a pretty even first period across the board. Florida led 11-9 in shots but the game would enter the first intermission tied at one. For the longest time it looked like it would be goose eggs but the teams combined for two goals just 19 seconds apart. On a power play, center Aleksander Barkov intercepted a clearing pass up the middle and one-timed it over to Sean Bergenheim who fired the puck past Ben Bishop with 1:04 left in the first. Tampa Bay would answer quickly on the next shift as Alex Killorn scored off the feed from Valteri Filppula, scoring five-hole on Scott Clemmensen.

2. Lightning Second: A close game turned into a big lead for the Lightning as the visitors struck for three goals in less than nine minutes of play. The scoring started quickly when Tyler Johnson took the shot off the backboards from Victor Hedman and put it into the open net 3:22 in. Then the Bolts had a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes and made the Cats pay as Filppula scored at the 8:01 mark. The goal was a back-breaker as Florida was 47 seconds away from killing off the power play but instead found themselves trailing 3-1. Martin St Louis really put the game away with his third point of the night, scoring on the 2-on-1 break at the 12:07 mark, his 16th of the season.

3. Sloppy Play Entering The Break: In his post-game press conference, interim head coach Peter Horachek commented about the sloppy play of the Panthers and although it was a 1-1 tie after one, it started in the first and got worse as the night went on. Florida wasn't able to control the neutral zone or the attacking Lightning players and they added two more goals. JT Brown did the damage in the third as he batted in Nikita Kucherov's shot and rebound 3:40 in and then finished out the scoring 10 minutes later on a rush with Kucherov. For Florida it's a game that will leave a sour taste in their mouths as they head to the Christmas break.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@sportsfan92: You win this time, Bolts. Go Cats. @FlaPanthers #GovernorsCup

@lessthanjenn: @FlaPanthers win some lose some. The team has made an awesome comeback from a slow start this season

fguanilo27: @FlaPanthers Tough lost, but we'll get back at it. #GoCats #WeSeeRED 

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Cameron Confuorti: I expected more from you, Panthers. However I forgive you as well.

Kira Brooks: Shake it off, we have more games to come! #TurnThatFootballOffHockeysOn!!

Matthew Abraham: Was one of the most gutless games I've seen in a while. Really show the importance of gudbranson.

Damon Smith: streaks can't last forever!

6.The Panthers have found some success of late in getting the first goal of the game. Sean Bergenheim got the Cats on the board late in the first period with his fifth of the season. For Florida, it was the sixth straight game that the Cats have scored first.

6. Not only was six the number of goals that Tampa scored Monday night, but it's the number of points so far in the season-series between the cross-state rivals. With one game to play (March 14 in Tampa), the Lightning have already wrapped up the Governor's Cup for the 2013-14 season, owning a 6-1 advantage in the series.

8. Called up in today and seeing his first action of the season in the NHL, defenseman Alex Petrovic finished with a game-high eight hits, helping Florida outhit Tampa 26-18.

19. The Panthers lead didn't last very long as Alex Killorn tied the game at one on the very next shift, 19 seconds following Bergenheim's goal.

63. Rookie center Aleksander Barkov had a good game in the face-off circle. Already the rookie leader in face-off wins, Barkov added another 12 to his total as he won 12-of-19 or 63% of his draws.

Martin St Louis
All over the ice for Tampa Bay, the captain was instrumental in setting up or scoring goals 2-4 on the night.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, 5 Shots, +2, 20:27 TOI
Florida now has a three day Christmas break before returning to action on Saturday as they host the Detroit Red Wings. The Panthers will look to win their third game of the month against their Atlantic Division rivals earning comeback victories on Dec. 7 (2-1) and Dec. 10 (3-2 SO). The latest victory came with Florida trailing 2-0 in the third period as Sean Bergenheim and Nick Bjugstad scored to force the eventual shootout and Brad Boyes netting the game-winner. Detroit fell to the NY Islanders on Monday by a 3-0 final but are currently fourth in the Atlantic with 43 points (17-13-9). They're led offensively by forwards Henrik Zetterberg (30 points in 28 games) and Pavel Datsyuk (29 points in 32 games) while Jimmy Howard has posted a 6-8-7 record with a 2.65 GAA and .910 save percentage in 21 games played. 

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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