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



Florida panthers
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.

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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