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Panthers Wrap-Up: Lightning 7, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 1 0 2
Lightning 2 2 3 0 7
FLA - PPG - B. Boyes (2), J. Huberdeau (1)
TBL - M. St Louis (2), SHG - S. Stamkos (1), S. Stamkos (2)< O. Palat (1), PPG - V. Filppula (2), V. Filppula (3), PPG - S. Stamkos (3)

TAMPA, FL —  ( - Steven Stamkos scored his first three goals of the season Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 7-2 in their home opener.

Stamkos got one goal in each period, a shorthanded score in the first, an even-strength goal in the second, and a power-play goal in the third.

"We've been our own worst enemy in the games that haven't been in dispute. We got off to a decent start but we didn't respond well to pressure when they pressured our players. Instead of responding to that, understanding that it was coming it created turmoil for us.."

- Head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Effort Not Like Philly: Florida had to feel good about their efforts following their game Tuesday night in Philadelphia. The score and result certainly didn't reflect their effort, falling 2-1 but for most of the night, the Panthers outplayed the Flyers. Tampa got on the board and led 2-0 after two periods, scoring shortly after a power play ended as Martin St Louis scored on a wrist shot 8:13 and then Steven Stamkos tipped in a St Louis shot on the shorthanded rush with 6:06 to play in the period. Tampa Bay kept Florida in their defensive zone for the majority of the night, not allowing the Panthers to get quality time in the offensive zone.

2. Always Answered: When Florida did score, the Lightning always had them answered. The Panthers made it a 2-1 game as Brad Boyes scored in his second straight game and the Panthers first power play goal of the game just 59 seconds into the second period. The Panthers looked like they might have turned the momentum, especially getting another power play shortly after. The power play was shortlived as the Panthers took a penalty and then the Lightning pulled away with two goals in a four minute span with Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scoring late in the period. Even when Jonathan Huberdeau scored early in the third to make it a 4-2 game, the Lightning answered the Cats tally with three more in less than a six minute span. 

3. Too Much Stamkos: The game started with Stamkos setting up St Louis for the first goal of the game and ended with Stamkos finishing off a hat trick on a power play with 12:25 gone in the third period. The Lightning sniper hadn't scored in his first three games but that was quickly forgotten. He was all over the ice, as really seen by his second goal in the second period, making the play to keep the puck alive and then scoring on a wrist shot from the corner to give Tampa a 3-1 lead, eventually good enough for the game winner. Florida couldn't find an answer for the Lightning forward, as he finished well defensively as well, registering four hits and a blocked shot to go with his offensive numbers.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@lampshade_85: 4 games in and the @FlaPanthers are 1-3-0 with 2 of those games having a deficit of 5 or more goals I expected better than this guys.

@hlamp: Well @FlaPanthers I'm not entertained

@DJBuddha94: We need the veterans need to step up and say something. We need energy now #FlaPanthers

@gumkojima: Psyched for tomorrow's #FlaPanthers' home opener VS Pittsburgh. Burger night. 8th row! 20th anniversary. Gotta hear that horn. #CatsAre20

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Jess Williams: Ughh Panthers please win tomorrow! I don't wanna drive three hours just to be disappointed!

Danielle Ruby: Need to step it up Cats. Letting way too many goals be scored on us.

Pamela Rossow: NOOoo! Come on, guys!

Ryan Karr: Terrible play, the 2nd had zero team work, and the 3rd we had no defense

1. Unable to keep the Lightning offense in check, the hosts chased Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen saw his first action of the season. Recalled on Wednesday after a rehab stint in San Antonio, Clemmensen stopped three of four shots.

8. Tampa Bay finished the game, outhitting Florida 27-15. Defenseman Radko Gudas led the way for the Bolts, registering eight on the night. Florida had five players with two hits each on the flip side. 

 Brad Boyes was able to get the Panthers their first power play goal of the season with his goal early in the second period. That snapped a 0-17 streak, including an earlier power play in the game.

Keeping the Panthers pinned in their own zone for most of the night began with success in the face-off circle for the Lightning as they won 63% of the draws. Nate Thompson led the way, winning 92% of the draws, losing just once on 13 attempts. 

When you're on, you're on. Steven Stamkos took four shots and scored on three of them in picking up the hat trick.

Steve Stamkos
Scoring the hat trick and adding an assist makes it a pretty easy call as the Tampa sniper had a hand in more than half the Lightning goals on the night.

3 Goals, 1 Assist, 4 Points, 4 Shots, +3, 18:16 TOI
Unable to finish off their opening four-game road trip on a high, having lost their last three after winning in Dallas, there will be no time to think about the latest loss as the Panthers host the Pittsburgh Penguins in their home opener Friday night. Pittsburgh, a perennial Stanley Cup favorite has won their first three games, outscoring their opponents 12-3 in victories over New Jersey, Buffalo and Carolina. Superstar and captain Sidney Crosby, who usually leads the Pens in scoring on an annual basis, leads the team with four points in three games while Marc-Andre Fleury has a .963 save percentage and 1.00 GAA in the three games between the pipes.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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