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Preseason Finale: Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Florida Panthers 2

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SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning played a nice clean game of hockey Saturday night.

There were no hijinks, no real scrums to speak of.

And, after Josh Mahura returned, it does not appear anyone got hurt.

As the preseason came to a close, that was the only important thing.

Oh, well, on the ice Tampa Bay ended up pulling out a 4-2 over the host Panthers to conclude the 2023 exhibition season.

Games now start counting for real this coming week.

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Tampa Bay, which finished its preseason 5-3, opens up Tuesday night at home against the Predators.

The Panthers (4-4) travel to Minnesota and kick off their season Thursday night.

As far as the preseason goes, the Panthers continue to hold tryouts for the final few spots on the roster as Justin Sourdif, Zac Dalpe, Uvis Balinskis and Casey Fitzgerald were all in the lineup.

Rookie Mackie Samoskevich and veteran Brett Ritchie — in camp on a tryout — did not.

On Saturday, Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead but Florida tied it as Jonas Johansson allowed his first goal in three preseason starts when Ryan Lomberg scored on a shorthanded chance at 11:34 of the first.

After Anthony Cirelli gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead, Florida tied it again 32 seconds later on a nice shot from Eetu Luostarinen in front of the net.

Tampa Bay, however, took the lead for good at 12:18 of the second when Brandon Hagel picked off a puck while killing a penalty, dipped-and-dodged both Mike Reilly and Evan Rodrigues to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Lightning later got a goal from Brayden Point 40 seconds into the third.

GR’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME

1. Jonas Johansson, Tampa Bay

2. Brandon Hagel, Tampa Bay

3. Eetu Luostarinen, Florida

PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MINNESOTA WILD

  • When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • This season: Florida @ Minnesota, Thursday; Minnesota @ Florida, Jan. 19
  • All-time regular season series: Minnesota leads 18-10-2, 1 tie
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at Winnipeg Jets, 4 p.m.

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