Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning fail to capitalize against Panthers
Praise the effort, tip your cap and take the point.
That's essentially the outlook the Lightning provided on Tuesday, again rallying from down two goals in the third period to force overtime before falling in a shootout 3-2 to the Florida Panthers in front of an announced crowd of 17,904 at The Forum, the first non-sellout of the season.
Tom Pyatt and Alex Killorn each scored third-period goals to erase a two-goal deficit, but Florida goaltender Jacob Markstrom stymied the Tampa Bay offense most of the night in stopping 39 shots and all three shootout attempts.
T.J. Brennan picked up a pair of a power-play assists, getting deflections from Tomas Kopecky and Greg Rallo. Peter Mueller had the only shootout conversion to give the Panthers the extra point and snap a seven-game winless streak against Tampa Bay.
The Lightning managed to gain a point on Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg, moving to within six of the top spot in the division with 13 games remaining. Tampa Bay did all it could to earn the second point, overcoming a slow start before dominating the final two periods and overtime en route to a season-high 41 shots on goal, before losing out in the skills competition.
“Did I feel like we had a better chance to win as the game went on? Yes,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We got stronger as the game went on, and in the second and third period, and in the overtime, we had the puck most of the time. … But they get a couple of seeing-eye singles that did us in, but I told the guys that if we keep playing like that consistently, night in and night out, we are going to win more games than we lose.''
Instead, Markstrom came up big most of the night to slow a Lightning offense that had scored 14 goals against Florida in the previous three meetings this season.
“We definitely had a lot of chances, we had a ton of momentum and we were making a lot of plays,'' Killorn said. “It's not that we didn't have enough chances, it's just that their goalie played pretty strong tonight, and we can't be too mad at the outcome because I thought we played pretty good.''
Florida converted both of its regulation power-play chances, with Kopecky getting a piece of Brennan's one-time wrist shot off a cross-ice feed from Tomas Fleischmann at 8:36 of the first period, while Rallo deflected a Brennan shot from the right point at 16:41 of the second period.
“We had a little cement in our boots as a team in the first period, but that happens,'' Cooper said.
Things lightened up the rest of the game, and just as they did in Cooper's debut behind the bench on Friday, the Lightning found a way to rally from down two goals in the third — first on Pyatt capping off a give-and go with Teddy Purcell at 5:38 and then Killorn picking up a rebound off a Victor Hedman shot that caromed off the end boards to Killorn behind the goal line for a bank shot with 9:28 left, his second third-period tying goal in the past two games.
Unlike Friday, however, Purcell, Hedman and Stamkos were turned away in the shootout.
“We did enough and had a lot of chances to win the game, but sometimes you get beat by a good goalie, and that's what happened tonight,'' Hedman said. “But if we keep playing like this, I like our chances, so we'll keep plugging away and keep our head up.''
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