The Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping, excuse the pun, that Lightning would strike twice Tuesday night when they took on the Florida Panthers, and it nearly did. In a game that had a lot of similarities to Friday nights game against the New Jersey Devils, the Lightning came back to tie the game late before falling to the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime.
The Lightning fell behind 2-0 on two power play goals, both on penalties by Tom Pyatt, by Tomas Kopecky and Greg Rallo. Both plays were shots that appeared to be deflected from point shots that Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon had no real chance of stopping.
The Lightning came storming back in the third though, much like they did in the third period against the New Jersey Devils Friday night, overcoming a two goal deficit in the third period to get game tied at two.
The Lightning’s first goal came on an almost perfect give-and-go between Teddy Purcell and Tom Pyatt to get the Lightning on the board. Purcell found Pyatt in the slot and he buried to get the Lightning back to within a goal.
Later in the period, the Lightning would tie the game when Alex Killorn threw the puck on goal from behind his own net and somehow got the puck past Jacob Markstrom.
The Lightning would fall though when none of Victor Hedman or Steven Stamkos could convert in the shootout, and the Panthers were able to convert on a Peter Mueller attempt to win the game.
The story of this game though, would be the play of Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced to earn the win, with many of those shots coming at close range and point blank. It was the exact definition of the Lightning running into a hot goalie.
Teddy Purcell stood out for the Lightning, setting a season high in ice time, and transitioning the puck through the neutral zone in a way that really helped eliminate some of the turnovers that have haunted this team all season long.
The Lightning were able to pick up a point on the Winnipeg Jets in the Southeast division standings, and now only trail the Jets by six points, with three less games played than their division rival.
“As it went on, I felt like we had a better chance to win the game,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “We just got stronger as the game went on. Especially in the third period, and probably in overtime too, we had the puck most of the time.”