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Thunder Struck: Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Florida Panthers 3



Panthers lightning

SUNRISE — Regardless of what side you were rooting for, the latest edition of the Battle of Florida between the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning was certainly entertaining.

After going down four goals early in the second, the Panthers ended up dominating play — only to come up short in a 5-3 loss to the Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was the Big Man in Sunrise on Saturday, stopping 47 shots in a much-needed win for the Lightning.

Tampa Bay held serve in the playoff race and remain in the first wild-card spot in the East.

The Lightning led 2-0 after the first period and, despite being outshot 18-3 in the second, 4-0.

Florida made it 3-1 at 3:38 of the second, but Josh Mahura’s goal was taken off the board after video review of a major-penalty on Dmitry Kulikov showed the offense happened before the puck went through.

Kulikov was also ejected from the game and will likely face league discipline this week.

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Steven Stamkos, who scored twice, got his second on the ensuing power play to make it 4-0.

Only the Panthers battled back and scored twice in the second off a shorthanded goal from Matthew Tkachuk and a power-play goal from Sam Reinhart.

Reinhart got his second of the night with 3:52 remaining — but that was all Vasilevskiy would allow and the Lightning end up salvaging a win in the short three-game season series.

Nikita Kucherov’s empty-net goal with 1:32 left ended it.

Florida outshot the Lightning 38-5 from the start of the second period on.

Florida won both games in Tampa earlier this season.


  • Lightning 1, Panthers 0 (0:20, 1st): The Lightning get loose with Steven Stamkos and Brandon Hagel on a 2-on-1 … with Stamkos’ cross-ice pass hitting Brandon Montour’s skate and going into the back of the net.
  • Lightning 2, Panthers 0 (13:21, 1st): Michael Eyssimont gets behind the Florida defense, his initial shot is stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky — only he is able to jam it through on the second try.
  • Lightning 3, Panthers 0 (3:02, 2nd): Darren Raddysh rips one from the right circle, putting it over Bobrovsky’s shoulder.
  • Lightning 4, Panthers 0 (6:59, 2nd PP): Stamkos one-times a shot from the left circle on a 4-on-3.
  • Lightning 4, Panthers 1 (8:23, 2nd SH): Matthew Tkachuk gets the first shorty of his career, dragging a shot that flies under the arm of Andrei Vasilevskiy.
  • Lightning 4, Panthers 2 (11:55, 2nd PP): Sam Reinhart gets No. 47 by snaring a loose puck in front of Vasilevskiy and slamming it into the net.
  • Lightning 4, Panthers 3 (16:08, 3rd): Reinhart creates a goal for himself, stealing the puck from Matt Dumba behind the cage and firing an odd-angled shot from the goal line.
  • Lightning 5, Panthers 3 (18:28, 3rd EN): Nikita Kucherov ends it for the Lightning.


1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay

2. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

3. Sam Reinhart, Florida

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  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise 
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Nashville: Panthers 4, Predators 1 (Jan. 22). At Florida: Thursday.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 22-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday, March 23 at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. (ABC)

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