The Florida Panthers got a third period pair from summer free agent signing Bobby Butler, including the game-tying goal with 58 seconds remaining in regulation time, but dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Times Forum on Saturday night, falling to 2-1-2 in the preseason.
Jonathan Drouin scored the only goal in the shootout to provide the winning margin while the game's first star, Steven Stamkos, scored a goal and added two assists.
The Panthers continued their trend of falling behind this preseason, as Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis scored in the first period to give the Bolts a 2-0 lead.
Erik Gudbranson struck on a second period power play to finally get the Cats on the board. It was his third goal of the preseason with Dmitry Kulikov drawing the lone assist.
After Tampa Bay's J.T. Brown restored the Lightning's two-goal lead, it was Kulikov's turn to fire in a power play marker. The goal came at the 12:10 mark of the middle frame and was assisted by Tom Gilbert and Tomas Kopecky.
In the third period, Kopecky would combine with rookie Vincent Trocheck to set up Butler's first goal, which tied the game at three apiece.
Stamkos scored at the 12:35 mark to give the Lightning the lead back before Butler's late heroics sent the game to extra time. Gudbranson and Kulikov got the helpers on the game-tying goal.
Butler, Brad Boyes and Kulikov were denied by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who finished with 25 saves, in the shootout.
Florida netminder Jacob Markstrom turned aside 29 shots in the losing effort.
In roster news, the Panthers began the process of cuts which will ultimately lead them to their opening-game lineup.
Jack Combs, Philippe Cornet, Jared Gomes, Dov Grumet-Morris, Jonathan Hazen, John Lee, Philippe LeFebvre, Matthias Lindstrom, Anthony Luciani, Rob Madore, Josh McFadden, John McFarland, Wade Megan, Zach Miskovic, Jed Ortmeyer, Alex Petrovic, Logan Shaw, Jonathan Racine, Tony Turgeon, Dennis Urban and Garrett Wilson were left behind in Texas to begin camp with the San Antonio Rampage while defenseman Brett Clark was released from his PTO.
UPDATE: Five more assigned to Rampage camp - Jon Matsumoto, Michael Houser, Michael Caruso, Scott Timmins and Greg Rallo join San Antonio. Panthers' roster now at 32 players.