Victor Hedman scores in OT to lift Lightning past Panthers in opener
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ben Bishop made the needed saves and also set up the game-winning goal.
Victor Hedman scored on a power play off a feed from the goalie 1:11 into overtime, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in their season opener Thursday night.
"I thought he was in command of his game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Bishop.
Hedman took Bishop’s pass at the offensive blue line, skated in all alone during a Panthers line change and beat Roberto Luongo from the left circle.
"I tried to shoot high and fortunately it got in," Hedman said. "I don’t think we played our best, but good teams find a way to win and that’s what we did."
Bishop stopped 19 shots in his first regular-season game since dislocating his elbow late last season. He also had a wrist injury in the second half of last season that impacted his stick-handling.
"It’s nice," Bishop said about his assist. "I was looking for an odd-man rush."
Tampa Bay also got goals from Tyler Johnson and Ryan Callahan. Valtteri Filppula had two assists.
The Lightning went 3 for 7 on the power play, while Florida failed to score on two chances.
"Unfortunately, the power plays cost us," said Luongo, who made 29 saves. "We’ve just got to be more disciplined there."
Erik Gudbranson and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Florida in Gerard Gallant’s first game as Panthers coach.
Callahan scored on a rebound of Filppula’s shot during a 5-on-3 power play, putting Tampa Bay up 2-1 at 7:17 of the third.
Florida pulled even at 2 when Huberdeau put a shot past Bishop during a delayed penalty call at 9:16 of the third. Tampa Bay had six of the seven power-play chances up to that point.
After Gudbranson opened the scoring at 5:03 of the second, Johnson tied it at 1 when he beat Luongo from the low right circle during a power play 2:09 later.
Luongo stopped Ondrej Palat’s breakaway backhander with 9 minutes left in the second. He also stopped Johnson during a 2-on-1 early in the third.
Florida’s Scottie Upshall was briefly shaken up in the second after a questionable hit by Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas. No penalty was called on the play.
"He got hit in the head and nobody (saw) it, so what can you do?" Gallant said. "It’s disappointing, but nobody (saw) the call."
Tampa Bay won all four games between the teams last season. The Lightning also took a pair of preseason games this year, outscoring the Panthers 7-1.
NOTES: Bishop has won all five of his games against Florida. … Tampa Bay D Eric Brewer (965 NHL games) was a healthy scratch. "It’s their decision," the 35-year-old Brewer said. "I don’t like it. It’s not easy." … Lightning rookie F Jonathan Drouin (broken right thumb) is practicing with the team and nearing his NHL debut. … Florida D Aaron Ekblad, selected first overall in the 2014 draft, had an assist in his NHL debut. … Luongo needs one victory to tie John Vanbiesbrouck (374) for 13th place on the career list. … Tampa Bay lost RW Richard Panik on waivers to Toronto. … U.S. women’s team player Anne Schleper will skate with the Lightning in practice Monday.