The Florida Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Tuesday afternoon to claim the top spot in this year’s rookie tournament at Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. The two Florida-based teams entered the game with 2-0 records.
Lightning defenseman Libor Hajek, a second-round pick this summer, opened the scoring when he beat Samuel Montembeault at 14:50 of the first period after taking a feed from Taylor Raddysh.
Kyle Rau evened the game 13:52 into the second period with a one-timer off a nice pass from behind the net from Tyson Baillie. The goal was Rau’s second of the tournament.
The Cats took the lead 1:48 later when Adam Mascherin’s shot caught Zac Lynch’s skate and eluded Bolts keeper Adam Wilcox.
Boris Katchouk forged a 2-2 tie less than a minute later when he collected his own rebound and put it past Montembeault.
Montembeault, who finished with 39 stops, came up big in the final frame, keeping the game tied until Denis Malgin delivered the winner with just 1:14 left in regulation.
The goal was Malgin’s sixth in three games, a tournament-high.
The Nashville Predators destroyed the winless Washington Capitals 7-0 in the early game to finish in third place with a 1-2 record.