After tying the game midway through the third period, Brayden Point struck for his second of the night 2:08 into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the host Florida Panthers.
Matthew Tkachuk’s double-minor for slashing (didn’t go for the puck) and roughing (totally unnecessary but..) Nikita Kucherov, who was stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky on a breakaway, was only partially offset by Victor Hedman roughing Tkachuk, set the stage for the decisive goal.
After Corey Perry sent the puck from behind the net out along the boards to Steven Stamkos, who opened the scoring with a power-play goal 13:04 into the first, he found Point in the slot and the dangerous wing took a beat to get on his forehand before solving Bobrovsky to give the Lightning the extra point.
Tkachuk scored a goal, redirecting a beautiful backhand pass from Brandon Montour, who spun away from Ross Colton to get loose, by Andrei Vasilevskiy 2:54 after Stamkos lit the lamp at the other end. The secondary assist on Tkachuk’s third as a Panther went to Gustav Forsling.
Florida took the lead with 4:23 remaining in the second period. After Sam Bennett won an offensive draw back to Montour, his quick shot deflected off of Tkachuk and ended up on the stick of Rudolfs Balcers, who finished on the backhand for the second straight game.
Unfortunately, the Panthers couldn’t extend the lead and Point evened it up in the third after a Stamkos faceoff win by tipping Nikita Kucherov’s aerial shot/pass down between Bobrovsky’s pads. Point was left all alone on the play. Inexcusable... Once again, special teams played a huge role in yet another close loss to the Lightning. Tampa Bay went 2 for 5 with the man-advantage, the Cats went 0 for 5. While the Lightning got big perfomances from it’s stars, Florida’s first line was blanked. Samson Reinhart did have four shots, but Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe only had one apiece. Both Reinhart and Barkov are still searching for their first goal of the season. The Panthers wasted a quality start from Bobrovsky, who finished with 29 saves.
Nuts & Bolts
- Matthew Tkachuk became the third player in franchise history to record at least one point in five consecutive games from the start of his tenure with the club, joining Ray Whitney (7 GP in 1997-98) and Pavel Bure (6 GP in 1998-99). Tkachuk is the first player in franchise history to record at least one point in each of the team’s first five games to start a season.
- Tkachuk’s handprints were all over this game. He collected a goal and an assist, registered a game-high six shots, blocked a shot, took three penalties and logged 21:04 of ice time.
- Not mentioned above, Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev collected the assists on Steven Stamkos league-leading seventh goal. The 32-year-old has scored in all five of Tampa Bay’s games (and added two assists) to start the season.
- The Panthers have failed to convert on its past 12 power-play opportunities and are an ugly 2-for-23 so far. Both PPGs came in the second period of the 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away 36 of 38 Florida shots. Vasilevskiy was particularly impressive in the first period, when the Panthers outshot the Lightning 18-8 and had to settle for a tie score after twenty minutes.
- Two points for Point and the Lightning and one for the Cats. Read more about it at Raw Charge.