The Florida Panthers came back from down 3-1 in the third period to force a shootout at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning but were unable to capture the second point. The 4-3 shootout loss was the fourth loss in the Panthers first five game of a season long six game home stand.
Despite losing four of five on the homestead, the Panthers have managed to pick up at least a point in three out of the five games. The shootout tonight was the third of the home stand and the third of the season for the Panthers. With the loss, Florida’s shootout record drops to 1-2.
The Panthers continued their trend of slow starts as they fell behind 2-0 within the games’ first five minutes. A Tampa odd-man rush featuring Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis led to Tampa’s first goal just 41 seconds into the game. Carrying the puck through the Panthers defensive zone, Stamkos dished the puck to St. Louis who was streaking towards the net and who was able to push the puck past Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom for his seventh goal of the season.
At 4:35 in the first Stamkos fired home a juicy rebound off a Ryan Malone shot for his eight goal of the year putting the Lightning up 2-0.
The Panthers settled in from there and were able to cut the lead in half at 13:48 into the first when Shawn Matthias picked up the garbage in front of the Lightning net for his first goal of the season.
A Radko Gudas goal in the second period stretched the Lightning lead to 3-1. Down two goals in the third period, it was time for another Panthers comeback. Nick Bjugstad redirected a Scottie Upshall shot for his, Bjugstad’s, first goal of the season at 5:39 into the third. Just minutes later at 8:51 into the final frame, Brad Boyes tied the game up at three apiece when he recovered a Lightning turnover and managed to slide the puck under Tampa Bay keeper Anders Lindback.
After a scoreless overtime, the Panthers entered the all too familiar shootout. The Panthers got a goal from Brad Boyes in the shootout but ultimately fell 2-1 in four rounds as Valtteri Filppula and Steven Stamkos scored for Tampa.
The Panthers outshot their opponent and lost for the second straight game. Tampa goalie Anders Lindback stopped 29 of 32 while Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 of 28 for the Panthers. The loss drops Florida’s recored to 3-7-2 while the Lightning improve to 8-3-0.
The Panthers have one game remaining on their home stand but not before four days off. The Panthers are off until Friday when they will face the St. Louis Blues at the BB&T Center.