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Point Taken: Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Florida Panthers 2 (OT)



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Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Panthers on Friday night. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee )

SUNRISE — It has been over five months since the Florida Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Friday night, Brayden Point kept them from pulling it off.

Not only did Point score the game-tying goal midway through the third period, but he scored on the power play in overtime to lead Tampa Bay to a 3-2 win against the rival Panthers at FLA Live Arena.

Regardless, it was a fun game between teams who got back together for the first time since Tampa Bay swept Florida out of the 2022 Eastern Conference semifinals.

“They are a heck of a team,” Point said. “They are fast, are skilled, it’s always a tough night. And they are always fun games. They are high-flying, but always tight checking. It was a cool game and you always have to be ready. It was nice to win, but there’s still plenty to work on.’’

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Florida held a 2-1 lead going into the third following goals from Matthew Tkachuk and Rudolfs Balcers — two players who had nothing to do with the Panthers and Lightning the past few years.

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Then Point tied things by deflecting a Nikita Kucherov pass and putting it past Sergei Bobrovsky.

“There are a lot of good things we can build off in our game,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

“Both teams found their way to the box tonight. I think we’ve seen that in most of our games — they are calling a lot. I would like to see more discipline while we play with an energy and we are still learning to do that.”

Florida had not lost an overtime game since March 1, 2021 — when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes at the hands of Martin Necas.

Steven Stamkos got the Lightning started 13:04 into the first period. He blasted a slap shot off of a feed from Kucherov on the power play to put Tampa Bay up early.

That lead lasted under three minutes.

Tkachuk then deflected a Brandon Montour shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy with 4:12 to go in the opening frame to tie the game up.

Florida’s new star power forward picked up right where he left off with an assist on a go-ahead goal by Balcers with 4:23 to go in the second period.

Balcers recieved a feed from Tkachuk and buried a backhand shot past Vasilevskiy for his second goal in as many games.

The score stayed that way until midway through the third when Point got the deflection goal.

In overtime, Tkachuk got hit with two penalties — and may find more than that from the league office before Sunday’s game against the Islanders — giving Tampa Bay an overtime power play.

It took the Lightning almost 90 seconds to cash in on the OT power play, but cash in it did when Point got another goal.

“They’re a good team,” Sergei Bobrovsky said. “It’s a team that’s fun to play against … the rivalry.  I thought it was a tight game, really good game. Unfortunately, we didn’t have wo points, but we still got one and we keep building our game”


1. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay (game-tying goal, OT winner)

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay (36 saves)

3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay (first goal, primary assist on winner)



  • When: Sunday, 5 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena; Sunrise
  • Tickets: HERE
  • 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
  • Last season: Florida won 3-0
  • This season (Florida 1-0): Florida 3, Islanders 1 (Oct. 13)
  • All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 55-32-11, 8 ties
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Cats and Leafs

We kind of expected Tkachuk to do something physical this game, and he did. He may have cost us the point, but he sent a message. Kucherov knocked Barkov out earlier in the game, and there is no question that was payback. The rivalry just ticked up a notch.


I don’t think he was trying to do anything physical just for the sake of doing it, I think it was a matter of Tkachuk being beat up the ice by Kutch, and he was forced to take a slashing call to try and negate a scoring chance, once he knew the penalty had been called, I think he was just simply trying to take somebody to the box with him, which he was successful at doing, but unfortunately he received the double minor in the process, but it did take their best defender off the ice, and he was… Read more »

Cats and Leafs

Re-watching the hit on Barkov, I don’t know how he was allowed back in the game. His head went into the boards on the initial hit, and then Kucherov followed through with his shoulder and knocked Barkov’s head again. Tkachuk went after Kucherov shortly thereafter, but nothing really happened. I agree that the overtime attack on Kucherov was to save the goal, but there is no question there was a little extra there to defend Barkov.

Cats and Leafs

for sure , I agree, Tkachuk put something extra on that slash, and cross-check and there’s no doubt it was to send a message.

Big T

Tkachuck did what he did because of that dangerous and somewhat dirty hit that Kuch laid on Barky. Kucherov is talented but dirty AF… Barky went head first into the boards… THAT should have been a penalty !!!! I am sick of this “Tampa getting the breaks” bs!!! The lightning are a dirty dirty team… just like their coach!!!

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