SUNRISE — As Alex Killorn bore down on the Panthers goal, he heard teammate Vinny Lecavalier call for the puck. How difficult was it not to pass to the Lightning's captain?
"It was hard, real hard," Killorn said.
It paid off when the left wing, in his fourth NHL game, scored his first goal in the Lightning's 6-5 overtime win Saturday.
"It's awesome," said Killorn, 23, who on Feb. 9 was called up from AHL Syracuse. "You want to do your best to chip in, in the role that you're given. But to chip in with a goal is great."
Killorn has gotten power-play time and time on the top lines. He also has an assist, is averaging 11:46 of ice time and is plus-1.
"He's so smart," coach Guy Boucher said, "and I enjoy that he learns fast and he's reliable on both sides of the ice. It gives me freedom to use him in all kinds of different circumstances."
Boucher also wasn't surprised Killorn, who outhustled two Panthers defenders on his scoring play, didn't pass to Lecavalier. "He's an unselfish player, but he's his own man," Boucher said. "He's not intimidated."
"It's funny," Killorn said of Lecavalier. "He told me after, 'I got it.' I thought he was talking about the goal. I wasn't sure if it went off his skate or something. But he was talking about the puck."
The team will mount the puck Killorn will send to his parents.
FINALLY: When Killorn scored 6:51 into the first period for a 2-1 lead, it was Tampa Bay's first lead in 362 minutes, 12 seconds, going back to the first period of the Feb. 2 game with the Rangers.
It lasted just 15:35.
Tampa Bay also led 3-2 in the second on Steven Stamkos' first goal but fell behind 5-3 before a third-period comeback.
"Once again we like to spot other teams leads and make it a challenge," Stamkos said. "We've got to find a way to get back to being in control of games. It's nice to play that way and have a lead and control the play and play well defensively and not always have to pull the goalie and hope for a goal."
COMEBACK: Anders Lindback was back in net after missing Thursday's start against the Capitals with what he called a 24-hour bug. The goalie made 25 saves and said he felt fine.
WORK IT OUT: The Lightning has practiced four times in 17 days in February, not nearly enough, Boucher said. "That's our biggest problem," he said. "Consistency comes from repetition, and repetition comes from practice. It's a game of fractions of seconds. Your body has to react to what it's used to." The lack of practice began with a six-day, lockout-shortened training camp. This month Tampa Bay played nine games in 17 days. That left eight days for practice. Four, including today, were days of rest. "It's that juggle between having the energy to compete at the right level but finding a way to practice here and there to get the execution of it," Boucher said.
ODDS AND ENDS: W Marty St. Louis has a league-best 17 assists. … Stamkos has goals in seven straight games against the Panthers, tying Mario Lemieux for most all time against Florida. … LW Cory Conacher's assist on Stamkos' first goal was his first point in seven games. … D Keith Aulie was scratched.