Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Florida Panthers 5-1

TAMPA — The impact of the Lightning's sweep of a home-and-home weekend series with the Panthers was big enough: It pulled them within four points of the Southeast Division leaders after a 5-1 win Saturday night.

But it was how Tampa Bay completed the feat that may mean more, especially as it hits the road this week to face two of the Western Conference's top teams, Minnesota and Detroit.

In a season in which the Lightning has been inconsistent, it appeared to find its game the past two nights, starting with Friday's 2-1 overtime win, utilizing its speed to be the relentless, yet structured team it wanted to be.

"I think guys are just starting to realize that if we do that, how good we can be," said Steven Stamkos, who had two goals for 14 on the season, two shy of league leader Phil Kessel of Toronto.

"(Florida was) on a tear, and we just took four points from them. We're not satisfied with our game, but we realized what we can do when we play our game, and we're starting to see the results."

For the third straight game, Tampa Bay (11-9-2) set the tone with a strong first period filled with ferocious, fast forechecking.

Marty St. Louis started the scoring with his 300th goal in a Lightning uniform, redirecting a nice cross-crease, backhand pass from Brett Connolly. Tampa Bay broke open the game with a three-goal second, including a highlight-reel rush and backhand by center Tom Pyatt.

Pyatt made a crafty move of passing the puck to himself off the boards at the blue line to get past Erik Gudbranson, then lifted a shot through sprawled-out goalie Jacob Markstrom for a 2-0 lead. It was Pyatt's fifth goal of his career, and first since Dec. 2, 2010. "Any time you score in the NHL, it definitely boosts your confidence," Pyatt said. "I'm hoping I can get that second one a little sooner."

Stamkos said the Lightning is playing like a confident team. St. Louis said that after a couple of tweaks, players are more comfortable, working with less thinking and hesitation. It's showing.

"We got outplayed," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said.

It helped the Lightning to have sharp goaltending by backup Mathieu Garon, who picked up his second consecutive win with 24 saves. Garon's defense helped him out, including killing all six Panthers power plays.

"We played physical. Our system was pretty much perfect," said Garon, who also played Friday. "I think we executed the game plan as asked by the coaches. That's who we want to be."

As well as the Lightning played this weekend, center Nate Thompson said, "We haven't done anything yet." These games will mean something only if it can develop consistency.

But they were still satisfying.

"We played a full 60 minutes," Thompson said, "which I don't think we've done in a long time."

Lightning 1 3 1 5
Panthers 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 6 (Connolly, Clark), 2:07. PenaltiesKubina, TB (tripping), 13:41; Stamkos, TB (hooking), 16:54.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 1 (Bergeron), 3:49. 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 13 (Purcell, Tyrell), 6:02. 4, Tampa Bay, Malone 5 (Stamkos), 10:35. PenaltiesPurcell, TB (hooking), 11:04; Kulikov, Fla (holding stick), 15:05; Tampa Bay bench, served by Connolly (too many men), 16:26; Hedman, TB (hooking), 19:21.

Third Period5, Florida, Matthias 3 (Skille), 17:43. 6, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 14, 19:01. PenaltiesFleischmann, Fla (hooking), 8:19; Kubina, TB (interference), 10:50. Shots on GoalFlorida 10-10-5—25. Tampa Bay 10-11-13—34. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 0 of 6; Tampa Bay 0 of 2. GoaliesFlorida, Markstrom 2-3-1 (34 shots-29 saves). Tampa Bay, Garon 5-3-1 (25-24).

Lightning 5

Panthers 1

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Florida Panthers 5-1 11/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]