SUNRISE — It was a long road trip — stretched across two presidencies, Lightning coach Jon Cooper joked after Thursday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Panthers at the BB&T Center.
But there was little else to smile about after Jonathan Marchessault beat his former team with a power-play goal 1:49 into overtime.
The Lightning, looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since Christmas week and looking to gain ground on one of the teams they are chasing for a playoff spot, came away with only one point.
"Obviously we're extremely frustrated right now," Cooper said.
The Lightning finished the six-game, 13-day trip that began in Los Angeles and crisscrossed the country with six points. It could have had more. Two of the losses came in overtime, and one was a regulation no-show against Arizona, which has the second-fewest points in the league.
"We pointed in four of the six games," Cooper said. "It's just a little bit frustrating because we sit here and say it could have been an unreal trip, but it turned into a mediocre trip because we only got six points out of it."
Tampa Bay heads into the All-Star break a game under .500 at 22-23-6.
"(The road trip) was not what we expected out of ourselves or wanted," wing Jonathan Drouin said. "You look at that Arizona game (a 5-3 loss), that was the giveaway. We didn't battle in the game. (Thursday) obviously (stunk), but I thought we played well. We got shots through, but it was not the road trip we wanted in the end."
The Lightning played well defensively against the Panthers. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, starting back-to-back games for the first time since Ben Bishop returned from a lower-body injury at the trip's start, turned in one of his best efforts this season. He stopped 35 of 37 shots after stopping 34 of 36 Tuesday during a win in Chicago. It was that effort that earned Vasilevskiy another start, Cooper said before the game.
Vasilevskiy allowed a short-handed goal by Jussi Jokinen midway through the first period, but that came on a 3-on-1 that began when the Panthers won a defensive zone faceoff.
Vasilevskiy committed to his left to stop Vincent Trocheck, who was having a very busy opening period in front of him.
Vasilevskiy didn't notice Jokinen to his right. Neither did the any of the other Lightning players on the ice.
Trocheck slid the puck across the ice to wide-open Jokinen, who knocked the puck in the net off Vasilevskiy's blocker as the goalie frantically slid across the crease.
The Lightning, though, quickly responded.
Nikita Kucherov answered on the same power play with his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
Marchessault's goal came after Tyler Johnson was called for interference, setting up the 4-on-3 overtime power play.
"It's hard to fight off 4-on-3," Drouin said. "I think 'Vasy' did hit best, but it was a great play by them."
First Period—1, Florida, Jokinen 5 (Yandle, Trocheck), 9:55 (sh). 2, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 19 (Drouin, Killorn), 11:33 (pp). Penalties—Brown, TB, (hooking), 6:05; Petrovic, FLA, (high sticking), 9:45; Dotchin, TB, (interference), 12:55.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Yandle, FLA, (slashing), 6:33; Petrovic, FLA, (delay of game), 16:46.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Thornton, FLA, (roughing), 3:36; Mckegg, FLA, Major (fighting), 3:36; Dumont, TB, Major (fighting), 3:36; Dotchin, TB, (interference), 10:48; Jokinen, FLA, (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:48.
Overtime—3, Florida, Marchessault 14 (Yandle, Jokinen), 1:49 (pp). Penalties—Johnson, TB, (interference), 0:49. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 8-12-12—32. Florida 12-10-12-3—37. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 4; Florida 1 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 11-11-3 (37 shots-35 saves). Florida, Reimer 8-6-4 (32-31). A—14,248 (17,040). T—2:36. Referees—Dan O'Halloran, Kyle Rehman. Linesmen—Jonny Murray, Pierre Racicot.