Monday, November 7, 2011

11/6: Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Florida Panthers 3

Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning had a slow start on the road against the rival Florida Panthers. It looked as if the Panthers would once again dominate the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have been having trouble playing on the road, as they had a 2-4-2 mark away from home headed into Sunday. It looked like they would add another loss to that record early on in the game. Just 1:49 into the game, the Panthers scored a powerplay goal. The shot came campbell at the low slot and deflected off of Lightning forward Nate Thompson and into the net. Garon had almost no chance to stop this shot. The Panthers continued their dominance against the Lightning and scored a second goal at 13:05 of the first. Skille led the Panthers out of the Lightning zone in transition and earned a 2-on-1 break. Skille made a perfect pass to Kopecky, who one timed it past Garon for the second goal. The Lightning still could not figure out the Panthers. Just over two minutes later, the Panthers had another chance to score. Kulikov intercepted a pass from Lightning center Lecavalier and passed it to Santorelli, who was on the left wing. He skated the puck in and wristed the puck through defender Kubina and over the shoulder of a seemingly unsuspecting Garon for a 3-0 lead. Garon would be pulled and replaced by Roloson. The Panthers would continue to dominate the rest of the period, ending with a 16 to 9 shot advantage. The Lightning would not surrender another goal however.

The Panthers continued to dominate the flow of the game into the second period, but Dwayne Roloson stayed solid with key saves for the Lightning. The Bolts would eventually restructure themselves and finally make a mark on the scoreboard. While on the powerplay, Brewer fired a low wrist shot towards the net. There was traffic in front of Panthers goalie Theodore, including Lightning forwards Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone. The rebound came off of Theodore and to Malone. Malone handled the puck, and stuffed it into to the net to cut the lead down to 2. About 90 seconds later, the Lightning had another goal, this one a little prettier than the one before it. Lightning defender Gilroy received the puck at the point, with Panthers forward Versteeg chasing him down. Gilroy faked a slapshot and spun around Versteeg. He skated all the way below the goal line and crossed the puck through the crease to an unguarded Stamkos who tapped it in for his league-leading (tied with Toronto's Phil Kessel) 10th goal of the year.

After controlling the end of the second period, the Lightning came out pressing for the tying goal in the third period. They finally got it at the 8:11 mark. Brewer fired a slapshot from the left point that was right on Jose Theodore, who couldn't control the rebound. There was a mad scramble for the puck, and Downie, on his knees, would snap the puck past Theodore hitting the right post. The puck bounced to Purcell however, who barely got it over the goal line for the tying goal. Lightning Coach Guy Boucher continued to be aggressive, sending the big guns Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos out on the next shift. The three almost combined several times for a go ahead goal, but Theodore was there to save the game multiple times for the Panthers, including an amazing glove save against a backhander by Downie with under a minute left in the 3rd.

Both goalies came out to play in the overtime period. Theodore made several saves against St. Louis and Stamkos, including a semi-breakaway for St. Louis. Roloson made a huge stop with less than seconds left, when a Panthers passing combination managed to get Stephen Weiss loose from the crowd and in alone on Roloson. Rolo stayed with him though, and made a toe save, preserving the game for the Lightning. So, after all of the insanity settled, the two teams would head to a shootout. After three stops by Theodore on Stamkos, Downie, and Purcell, Moore would break through. Roloson made the final save on former Bolt Sean Bergenheim, of all people, and the Lightning managed a come back win against the Florida Panthers.

Gabe's Notes: This was the first win for the Lightning against the Panthers in three tries this year; The Lightning are now 3-4-2 on the road; Stamkos remains hot, as he now has 15 points in 14 games; Campbell and Santorelli both scored their first goals of the season for the Panthers; Roloson was a perfect 27-27 in saves in relief of Garon, who was 9-11; Hedman was out due to an 'upper body injury'; Defenseman Matt Gilroy led the team in ice time with 24:03; Malone left the game with an injury; The Lightning are only two points behind the division leading Capitals.

Upcoming Games

Tampa Bay Lightning (7-5-2, 16 pts): 11/9 vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Versus)
Florida Panthers (6-4-3, 15 pts): 11/8 @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Three Stars

1) Dwayne Roloson (27 for 27 saves)
2) Steven Stamkos (1G, 1A, 6 Shots)
3) Teddy Purcell (1G, 2 Shots)

Video Highlights

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