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‘The picture changes completely’: Panthers have life after wild win over Lightning

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Panthers Lightning
Patric Hornqvist celebrates his power play goal with Carter Verhaeghe and Jonathan Huberdeau early in the third period Thursday night. That goal pulled Florida within a goal after the Lightning scored five in the second period. // Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA — After a disastrous second period in which the Florida Panthers gave up five goals to the host Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 Thursday night, things appeared bleak.

The Lightning truly looked like the defending Stanley Cup champions. Tampa Bay was feeding off the energy in the building and exhibiting the confidence of a team who had been here before.

Then there were the Panthers, playing the role of the little cousin who always gets picked on at family picnics.

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Thursday night, the Panthers fought back.

Things may be different from now on.

“Couldn’t have been more proud about the way we competed,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said after Florida’s stunning 6-5 overtime win on Thursday.

“Now all of a sudden, the picture changes completely in a short amount of time. We’ve been working our tails off, it’s been an unbelievable series, the pace is unbelievable. Keep our composure and let’s be smart about it.”

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