Panthers snap skid with big 2-1 overtime win over Lightning

Cats get the best of their cross-state rival (barely)

The Florida Panthers will head into the All-Star break on a high note, thanks to a 2-1 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning that snapped a four-game losing streak.

A first period high-sticking call on Alex Petrovic, back after missing 33 games with an ankle injury, set the stage for the only goals in regulation time.

The shorthanded Panthers struck first with Jussi Jokinen getting the goal at the 9:55 mark after taking a nice cross-ice pass from Vincent Trocheck. Jokinen was able to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy from a sharp angle for his fifth of the season. Keith Yandle picked up the secondary assist, starting the play off with a strong rush up ice.

Tampa Bay struck back with 12 seconds remaining in the Petrovic penalty when Nikita Kucherov took a feed from Jonathan Drouin and beat surprise starter James Reimer from the right circle. Alex Killorn also collected a helper on Kucherov’s nineteenth.

The second and third periods were all about Reimer and Vasilevskiy. Highlights included Reimer thwarting Drouin on a 2-on-1 break in the middle stanza and Vasilevskiy coming up big to deny Jokinen a second shorthanded goal in the third.

Florida took advantage of a interference call on Tyler Johnson to score the deciding goal 1:49 into overtime.

Jonathan Marchessault was the hero, finishing off a pretty, triangular passing play with Jokinen and Yandle down low to bag the game-winner, his fourth of the year.

All-Star Trocheck and honoree Jaromir Jagr are off to Los Angeles for this weekend’s festivities, while the rest of the Cats will rest until Tuesday, when the Ottawa Senators come calling.

Shock & Awe

  • James Reimer got the start after Roberto Luongo was injured before the game. Reimer finished the tilt with 31 saves and raised his record to 8-6-4.
  • Jussi Jokinen had one of his better performances of the campaign. In addition to having a hand in both goals, Jokinen’s five shots matched Vincent Trocheck and Ondrej Palat for the game-high. Jokinen also had three hits.
  • Trocheck’s assist game him points in seven out of the last eight games. The red-hot pivot has amassed 18 points (10G/8A) in his last 15 outings.
  • Despite making 35 stops for the Lightning, Andrei Vasilevskiy saw his record fall to 11-11-3 on the season.
  • Alex Petrovic registered three shots, two blocks and dished out two hits in his return. Petrovic logged 13:40 of ice time in his first game back.
  • In addition to Petrovic, Nick Bjugstad returned to the lineup after missing nine games. Bjugstad collected a shot, a block and three hits in 12:36 TOI.
  • Visit Raw Charge and get even more zapped up about the Cats win over the Bolts./