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Steve Gorten: Ryan Lomberg unlikely hero for Florida Panthers in OT

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Florida Panthers Ryan Lomberg
Ryan Lomberg shares a laugh with Sam Bennett on the Florida Panthers bench last month. Lomberg was the Florida Panthers’ unlikely hero as he scored in overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5. // Photo by Roger Topalian, 21st Century Photography (561) 488-0000

Ryan Lomberg’s most momentous goal scored before his stunning game-winner in overtime Thursday night?

“I had two [career] goals, so probably my first one,” Lomberg said with a chuckle.

Florida Panthers Ryan Lomberg

Steve Gorten, FHN Columnist

The unlikely hero of one of the greatest wins in the history of the Florida Panthers franchise, the guy who — at least temporarily — has saved their season, also happened to be the only player in the lineup without a single shot on goal until he fired the puck past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at 5:56 of overtime.

That gave the Panthers a 6-5 victory. Tampa Bay still has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, but Florida certainly can build off of this.

“A lot of times in overtimes, guys that are least expected to score come up large,” said Panthers coach Joel Quenneville. “The enthusiasm, after that goal and win, was as high as I’ve ever seen.”

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