The Florida Panthers headed to Tampa Bay for their first road game of the season against their instate rival, the Lightning.
In a matchup of the last two winners of the Atlantic division, both teams went back and forth with the game needing a shootout to decide the outcome, with the Lightning coming out in front by the final score of 4-3.
Mike Matheson registered his first career NHL goal, which was in line to be the game winner until Steven Stamkos struck with five seconds left to go in the third period.
Ben Bishop originally thought he had clinched the win for the Lightning, after Vincent Trocheck (who also scored for the Panthers) misplayed the puck on his stick. At first it was called no goal, but after further review it was deemed to be a good goal, allowing the shootout to continue.
Rookie Brayden Point scored the eventual shootout deciding goal, as Aaron Ekblad wasn’t able to keep the game alive in the Panthers’ final attempt.
Defense Struggles Early
The Panthers defense had been one of the bright spots early on in the season, and while they had an overall strong game, two gaffes in their own zone allowed the Lightning to tally multiple goals.
On the opening goal of the night for Tampa Bay, Ekblad lost the puck behind the net and his defensive partner Keith Yandle also got stuck behind the net, allowing Alex Killorn to creep in and fire the puck past James Reimer – making his first start as a Panther.
The second goal saw both Alex Petrovic and Mark Pysyk get stuck on the same side of the ice, allowing Ondrej Palat come in untouched and score to put the Lightning up by one.
Florida allowed a season high 28 shots on net against Tampa Bay, and while most were of the non-dangerous side, they were able to capitalize on the chances they did get.
Power Play Struggles Continue
While Florida didn’t have the best of power plays a year ago, they have really struggled so far this year, having yet to find the back of the net while having the man advantage.
Against Tampa Bay, they failed on all three attempts on the night, and never really was able to sustain a prolonged possession while playing with the power play. Heading into tonight’s game, they were one of six teams in the league that haven’t registered a power play goal either.
The Panthers head back home for two games before hitting the road for their first real road trip. They will face the Washington Capitals on Thursday, and then the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The Avalanche were blanked by the Capitals Tuesday night.
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