Florida Panthers defeat Tampa Bay in their home opener

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 7: The Florida Panthers celebrate their win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB
SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 7: The Florida Panthers celebrate their win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB /

After losing a tough one in Tampa Bay last night, the Florida Panthers came in with a fresh mindset for their home opener. Would the Cats record their first win of the year?

The Florida Panthers were heading into this game with an 0-1 record. Looking to bounce back after a rough game the night before, the Cats certainly didn’t get off to the start they were looking for. Around three and a half minutes into the opening period and Tampa Bay found the back of the net.

After Steven Stamkos hit the cross-bar from a cross-crease pass, Nikita Kucherov instantly buried the rebound. The bolts weren’t finished yet as Vladislav Namestnikov added to the bolts lead a minute and a half later, giving his side a 2-0 lead. Things started getting ugly for the Panthers and a change in momentum was quickly needed.

Fortunately enough, with six minutes left in the first and on the man advantage, Evgeni Dadonov was able to bury a rebound that came off the post from Aaron Ekblad. The goal would cut the lead down to one (2-1) and would later send the Panthers headed to the locker room:

Heading into the second period down a goal, Nick Bjugstad received a stretch pass from Evgeni Dadonov, only to find himself on a breakaway. Needless to say, Bjugstad sniped it top-shelf and tied the game up at two:

The Panthers would feed off the energy from this goal and would continuously poor pressure down deep in the Lightning’s zone. As the Cats continued to press and press, Bradyen Point would give his side the go-ahead goal off a lucky break. Point was able to squeeze his shot beneath Reimer’s legs, which just trickled its way into the net.

Heading into another period a goal down (like the second), the Panthers found themselves tying the game yet again, this time coming from Colton Sceviour. Sceviour received a beautiful pass from Michael Haley, which resulted in Colton tipping the puck home. The goal tied the game up at three a piece and gave the BB&T Center something more to cheer for.

Finally just finally, the Panthers were able to take their first lead of the hockey game. Jared McCann ripped a shot top-shelf, which gave the Cats a 4-3 lead. Quickly after the goal was scored, the officials waved off the goal as there was ‘minimal contact’.

Immediately after the officials ruling, Bob Boughner was quick enough to call for a challenge and would use it to argue the call. With extra consideration from the referees, the call was overturned and the Panthers had themselves a good goal:

The Panthers didn’t stop there and would shortly find themselves back on the board two minutes later. Vincent Trocheck would drive to the net and pick up the loose garbage out in front. The goal would give the Cats a 5-3 lead and would end up as the game winner:

The Lightning gave the Panthers a nice little scare as they cut their lead down to one. Tyler Johnson would record the goal with six minutes left, but thankfully, it wouldn’t be enough. The Cats would hang on to their one goal lead and would take the game by a final score of 5-4.

It was nice to see the Panthers pick up their first win of the season, regardless of how nerve-racking it may have been. Ultimately, good teams find a way no matter how tough a game might be. The boys were able to stick this one out and find some light at the end of the tunnel. Your Florida Panthers are back in action against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, Oct 12th @ 7:30pm.