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Tampa Bay Bandits: Florida Panthers 9, Lightning 2



Panthers lightning

Things did not look too good for the Florida Panthers on Saturday when the host Tampa Bay Lightning scored 24 seconds in.

Boy, did things change in a hurry.

The Panthers ended up scoring four unanswered goals to close the first before adding two more early in the second in an eventual 9-2 rout of their cross-state rivals.

With the win, Florida extended its franchise-record road-winning streak to 11 and are now a win in Carolina next week from tying the NHL record for consecutive road wins.

Only six teams in NHL history have won 11 straight road games, including the Los Angeles Kings earlier this season.

The Detroit Red Wings (2005-06) and Minnesota Wild (2014-15) hold the record with 12 straight.

The Panthers, now with a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings, have also won five straight — and continued their recent dominance of the Lightning.

Florida has won its past four games against the Lightning — and are 5-1-1 in its past seven trips to Tampa.

On Saturday, Florida had 13 players hit the scoresheet headlined by Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett each getting two goals and four points.

Carter Verhaeghe had two goals and an assist as he hit the 30-goal mark for the third consecutive season.

Down 1-0 after Brandon Hagel broke loose off a stretch pass from Anthony Cirelli on the opening shift, the Panthers kicked things into high gear in a hurry.

And they never looked back.

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Brandon Montour tied it at 1 after scoring off a faceoff win by Sam Bennett and Florida was off and running.

The Panthers closed the first with goals from Bennett, Kevin Stenlund and Gus Forsling — only to open the second with a pair of power-play goals from Tkachuk to make it 6-1.

Florida did not score any more in the second and went into third holding that five-goal lead yet tagged on three more early in the third to make it 9-1.

Lost in the scoring frenzy was Sergei Bobrovsky’s stellar game in net as he held off the high-scoring Lightning by making 28 saves.

Speaking of scoring: Florida scored nine goals on the road for the first time on Saturday, coming one shy of the franchise-record for total goals.

The Panthers beat Boston 10-5 at Miami Arena on Nov. 26, 1997.


  • Lightning 1, Panthers 0 (0:24, 1st): Brandon Hagel breaks free, walks in on Sergei Bobrovsky and sets the tone for this game very early. Or did he?
  • Panthers 1, Lightning 1 (7:01, 1st): Brandon Montour ties things up, one-timing a face-off winner from Sam Bennett and clipping a Tampa Bay defender along the way.
  • Panthers 2, Lightning 1 (12:28, 1st): Matthew Tkachuk gets the puck in the slot and finds Bennett outside the right circle. The Panthers have a lead they will not give back.
  • Panthers 3, Lightning 1 (17:44, 1st): Kevin Stenlund picks up a loose puck, walks through the Tampa defense and scores from the left circle.
  • Panthers 4, Lightning 1 (18:38, 1st): Gus Forsling throws one up with Carter Verhaeghe in front. The Lightning challenged for goalie interference to no avail.
  • Panthers 5, Lightning 1 (0:23, 2nd PP): On the ensuing power play, Tkachuk scores his first of the night.
  • Panthers 6, Lightning 1 (1:37, 2nd PP): Florida got another power play chance — and this time Tkachuk deflects in a shot from Verhaeghe.
  • Panthers 7, Lightning 1 (1:05, 3rd): Verhaeghe finishes off a game of tic-tac-toe with Bennett and Tkachuk.
  • Panthers 8, Lightning 1 (1:56, 3rd PP): Bennett gets in front and roofs a shot over backup goalie Jonas Johansson.
  • Panthers 9, Lightning 1 (4:09, 3rd): Did you know Verhaeghe used to play for the Lightning? No. 23 gets his 30th of the season.
  • Panthers 9, Lightning 2 (10:51, 3rd PP): Brayden Point got the top power-play in the NHL a goal in what was basically garbage time.


1. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida

2. Sam Bennett, Florida

3. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

4. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida

5. Brandon Montour, Florida

6. Gus Forsling, Florida


Tkachuk’s two goals in the first 1:37 of the second period were the fastest two goals by a player to start a period in franchise history.

He also became the fourth player in franchise history with a double-digit road scoring streak, scoring 11 goals with 25 points in his past 10 games away from Sunrise.

The others: Mike Hoffman (11 games in 2018-19); Stu Barnes (11 in 1993-94); Sam Reinhart (10 earlier this season).

Tkachuk also got his seventh four-point game with the Panthers — passing Pavel Bure (five) for third-most in franchise history.

Since Florida’s last road loss on Dec. 17 in Calgary, Tkachuk has 13 goals and 33 points.

— Florida’s four goals in the first period were second-most in an opening period in franchise history. On March 16, 2023, the Panthers got seven in the first against the Canadiens.

— Montour (1-2, 3) recorded his seventh three-point game with the Panthers, tying him with Brian Campbell for the fourth most by a defenseman in franchise history.



  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Ottawa: Panthers 5, Senators 0 (Nov.27); April 4. At Florida: Tuesday; April 9
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Ottawa leads 57-45-5, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Carolina, 7 p.m.

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