Recat: You Must Be Jokin(en)

Panthers put up all three goals inside two minutes of the second, but ultimately drop a 4-3 squeaker in Tampa Bay.

The Panthers lost a heartbreaker on Florida's left coast, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The game opened with Florida getting outshot five to zero through the first nine minutes, which yielded two Tampa Bay markers. On the first one, Brian Campbell got caught on a bad line change, which allowed Brendan Morrow to score his third of the year assisted by JT Brown. Then, Tyler Johnson notched his 26th of the campaign on a bad pass by Erik Gudbranson, with a helper by Ryan Callahan. After Nikita Kucherov boarded Willie Mitchell, the Cats managed to put eight shots on goal inside two minutes, but nothing doing on the bottom line. A Valtteri Filippula hooking call on Jonathan Huberdeau yielded nothing a bit later.

Florida turned it around in the second period, with three even-strength markers inside two minutes. It started with a perfect Brad Boyes dish to Jussi Jokinen (7) at the 6:16 mark. Erik Gudbranson earned a secondary assist on the play. Just 18 seconds later, Brandon Pirri beat Andrei Vasilevskiy high on the glove side with his 18th goal of the season and his 15th in the last 21 games. Vincent Trocheck was credited with the sole assist. Jonathan Huberdeau put the exclamation point on the outburst at 8:14, punching home his 12th of the season after a prolonged scramble in front of Tampa Bay's backup. Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr each got a helper on the play.

Florida's 3-2 lead lasted until 1:30 into the third period, when Kucherov slipped one between Roberto Luongo's skate and the post. There was some question as to whether Tyler Johnson interfered with Luongo, but nothing came of it. The score would hold until the 17:32 mark, when the Lightning effectively put a fork in the Panthers with a Ryan Callahan goal, his 22nd, with assists from Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn.