Florida Panthers drop their season opener to Tampa Bay

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 6: Nikita Kucherov
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 6: Nikita Kucherov /

It’s that time of the year again and your Florida Panthers open up the season taking on their divisional/state rival; the Tampa Bay Lightning. Would the Cats end up victorious?

The Florida Panthers started the game off quite well… Too well if I could say so to speak. Often when our Cats get off to a great start, they often receive a bad break which ends up in the back of their net. Unfortunately enough, this happened:

Around six and a half minutes into the opening period, Ondrej Palat opened up the scoring for the bolts, to give his side a 1-0 lead. The goal was quite weak as Palat just slid the puck beneath Luongo’s legs. It was surely a goal bobby Lu would love to have back!

The Panthers would continue to fight, but no luck would occur for them as of yet. The first period would end with a score line of 1-0 Bolts.

Heading into the second period, the Lightning got off to a perfect start. Youngster Brayden Point threw a shot from an odd angle, only to find himself scoring and extending his team’s lead. Marking the second soft goal of the night, the Lightning would go up by two (2-0).

Despite the slow start that the Cats faced earlier on in the second, Connor Brickley would score the Panthers first goal of the season, cutting the lead down to one (2-1):

The goal only re-energized the Panthers, as they continued to pour on additional pressure down deep in the Lightning’s zone. All this pressure and hard play wouldn’t go without notice, as Mark Pysyk tied the game with three and a half minutes left in the second (2-2):

With Pysyk’s goal tying up the game and sending the Cats into the locker room tied up at two, the Panthers suffered yet another slow start to the period (this time, the third period!). Fifty-nine seconds into the third and Vladislav Namestnikov received a beautiful cross-crease pass by Steven Stamkos, only to find himself putting the puck into the empty net (3-2 Bolts).

Unfortunately for the Cats, things went from bad to worse as Nikita Kucherov sniped home his first of the year to extend his team’s lead by two (4-2). The Panthers were quickly starting to deteriorate and right in front of our own eyes.

Thankfully enough, Jonathan Huberdeau was able to tip one home and cut the Bolts lead down to one (4-3). The goal came off a shot by Evgeni Dadonov, who simply threw the puck towards the net, finding Huberdeau in result:

Sad to say, the Panthers weren’t able to find another one and would later receive the final punch. The Bolts were able to add an empty netter thanks to Ondrej Palat and would go on to win the game 5-3.

Overall, there was some good that came from this game, but the bad did outweigh the good. A lot of work will need to be done in preparing this team both accordingly and effectively. The lines were a major concern and should be addressed in the coming days. Your Florida Panthers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow (Oct 7th) for their home opener @ 7:00pm.