Florida Panther defenceman Jason Garrison is not known for his offensive abilities. But when he gets his chance he sure makes them count, as Jason scored his third game winning goal of the year last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Garrison who has four goals on the season took a nifty pass from Mike Weaver and skated in the Tampa zone and put a slick backhander past goalie Mike Smith for the win. It was also Garrison’s 100th career game.
One thing for sure, the Panthers would like to see Lightning on the schedule more as their record against their state rival is now 4-0-1 with two shootout wins and this victory in overtime.
Tampa seemed to control the first few minutes of the game as they pressed in the Panthers zone, but Scott Clemmensen who got the start was able to hold down the fort and make some solid saves. Marty Reasoner on the other hand had two scoring chances on one play in the first when he took a pass from David Booth and was stopped on his first shot, as well as his rebound. Niclas Bergfors made a very sweet pass to Sergei Samsonov who was literally robbed by Tampa goalie Mike Smith who made a sprawling save.
David Booth got the scoring started with his 21st goal of the season at 4:33 of the second to give the Panthers the lead. Steven Stamkos tied the game at one 10 minutes later just after the Panthers killed off a 5 on 3 advantage. It was Stamkos’s 43rd goal of the season.
It was also a night of firsts’ as newcomer Ryan Carter playing in his first game since coming over in the Cory Stillman trade from Carolina scored his first goal as a Panther. Carter skated virtually the length of the ice and used Tampa’s defence to screen Mike Smith picking up his second goal of the season. Carter was all smiles after the game and had this comment to say:
“That’s a talented team with guys that can score so to give up a two-goal lead like that and not lose your marbles, stay in the game and be able to finish it, that says a lot about the guys in here right now,” Carter said.
Also getting his first goal as a Panther was Niclas Bergfors, who felt good to finally get one for his new team. Bergfors thoughts after the game:
“It was back-and-forth but were able to close it out,” Bergfors said. “It was a good win for us. We took some bad penalties at the end, but we showed we were the better team [Saturday].”
The Panthers ultimately gave up their 3-1 lead as Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne tallied for Tampa, which ultimately sent the game to the extra frame. Florida almost shot themselves in the foot with sloppy play and penalties during the game. Two too many men penalties and a couple high sticking infractions almost victimized the Panthers. Pete Deboer was happy with the end result, but not necessarily how they got there:
“There was more excitement than we wanted. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times, but the result was the right one. We played hard and deserved to win. It wasn’t how we drew it up, but we’ll take the two points.”
Florida has four power play opportunities which they did not convert, and the power play looked more out of sorts than normal. Fortunately the five on five play and the play of the new players was enough to get them where they needed to be. Another one goal game for the Panthers as their record is now 18-16-9. The most one goal wins in a season for them was 22 in 2007-2008.
Here’s the TSN Boxscore.
Next up is the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
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