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 loses home opener at St. Pete Times Forum, 7-4 to Florida Panthers

TAMPA — Where to start when talking about the Lightning's 7-4 loss to the Panthers on Monday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Perhaps it is best to begin at the end.

Center Steven Stamkos, after his team's fifth straight loss, and after it laid an egg in a home opener tagged as a new start after a 1-2-2 road trip, admitted players are wondering what the heck is going on.

"I wouldn't say we're in panic mode, but we're worried," Stamkos said. "This isn't the start we wanted."

Or the way the team wants to play, specifically on special teams.

The Lightning (1-3-2) allowed five power-play goals, the most it ever allowed at home and tied for the most in a game. It also gave up a shorthanded goal to ex-Lightning Sean Bergenheim.

It was a startling performance, especially on the penalty kill, which in back-to-back losses to Florida went from efficient to sloppy.

The Lightning this season killed off its first 22 penalties but since then has allowed seven power-play goals in 14 chances in the two losses to Florida.

Goaltender Dwayne Roloson allowed at least five goals in his third straight game. But the Panthers — with two goals and four points each from Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg — moved the puck at will and took 16 of their 33 shots with the man advantage.

The Lightning also won just four of 16 shorthanded faceoffs.

"It seemed like we were getting caught in no-man's land where we really weren't taking away passing lanes but weren't really taking away shooting lanes," right wing Adam Hall said. "That's a dangerous place to be caught."

"We have to get more on the same page," center Dominic Moore said. "Guys need to be aware of how we move and how we react. It's a matter of communicating and working in unison."

It's also a matter of staying out of the penalty box, not only to eliminate power plays but to build momentum playing five on five.

The Lightning was called for 11 penalties and was shorthanded nine times. Its 36 times shorthanded is a league worst.

"If we can stay five on five, we give ourselves a chance," coach Guy Boucher said. "We did some good things five on five. We scored four goals (in the game), and that should be enough to win at home."

Want some positives? Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Vinny Lecavalier and Victor Hedman scored, and Marc-Andre Bergeron had three assists to give him two goals and a team-best eight points.

The Lightning even had a 39-33 shot advantage.

But every time Tampa Bay crept closer — it was at 4-3 in the second period and 5-4 in the third — a penalty or lack of a save by Roloson, who has allowed 17 goals in his past three starts, messed up the comeback.

"We're sabotaging ourselves," Hall said.

Added Stamkos: "We're shooting ourselves in the foot, and we have no one to blame but ourselves."

Panthers 2 2 3 7
at Lightning 2 1 1 4
Panthers 2 2 3 7
at Lightning 2 1 1 4

First Period1, Florida, Kopecky 1 (Jovanovski, Campbell), 6:15 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Purcell 2 (Shannon, Bergeron), 9:22 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Hedman 1 (Hall, Thompson), 14:00. 4, Florida, Weiss 2 (Kulikov, Campbell), 17:12 (pp). PenaltiesHall, TB (cross-checking), 4:35; Gudbranson, Fla, major (fighting), 6:51; Malone, TB, major (fighting), 6:51; Fleischmann, Fla (hooking), 7:26; Downie, TB, misconduct, 7:26; Kopecky, Fla (tripping), 11:31; Gilroy, TB (delay of game), 14:09; Brewer, TB (hooking), 16:21.

Second Period5, Florida, Versteeg 2 (Weiss, Campbell), 2:35 (pp). 6, Florida, Bergenheim 1, 12:17 (sh). 7, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 2 (Bergeron, Gilroy), 16:21. PenaltiesSt. Louis, TB (tripping), :46; Kulikov, Fla (holding), 11:14; Moore, TB (slashing), 18:39.

Third Period8, Florida, Versteeg 3 (Fleischmann, Weiss), :25 (pp). 9, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 2 (Gilroy, Bergeron), 10:53. 10, Florida, Weiss 3 (Versteeg, Jovanovski), 15:28. 11, Florida, Garrison 2 (Campbell, Versteeg), 16:47 (pp). PenaltiesDownie, TB (high-sticking), 8:33; Kubina, TB (tripping), 15:52; Brewer, TB (delay of game), 16:02; Ritola, TB (boarding), 19:28. Shots on GoalFlorida 8-13-12—33. Tampa Bay 10-13-16—39. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 5 of 9; Tampa Bay 1 of 3. GoaliesFlorida, Theodore 3-1-0 (39 shots-35 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 1-2-1 (33-26). A19,204 (19,204). T2:31.

Tampa Bay Lightning loses home opener at St. Pete Times Forum, 7-4 to Florida Panthers 10/17/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.