The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers Tuesday night 3-2 in a back-and-forth game in Sunrise, Florida. The Lightning were led by Steven Stamkos, who broke a 2-2 tie in the third period with the game-winning goal.
Stamkos leads the NHL with 20 goals, and scored the winner just five minutes into the third period on a Lightning powerplay. The Lightning have struggled of late and must pick up the pace if they expect to make a run for the playoffs.
Anders Lindback was spectacular for the Lightning against the Panthers, making 37 saves on 39 shots in the contest. The 6-foot-6 goaltender sports a 9-6-0-1 record with the Lightning in 2013 after coming up in the league with the Nashville Predators.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier got the Lightning on the board just over a minute into the first period. Martin St. Louis scored later in the period to give the Lightning a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Florida Panthers started the second period with a bang, as Kris Versteeg scored 13 seconds into the frame to cut the Lightning lead to one. Tomas Kopecky scored his 11th goal of the season midway through the second to tie the game up at two.
The Lightning had only six shots through the first two periods, but the key goal by Stamkos in the third was enough to beat the Panthers. Tampa Bay has won all three meetings with the Panthers this season, giving them seven straight wins over their in-state rival dating back to 2011.
Tampa Bay has won two of their last nine games and have fallen out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Lightning currently sit in 12th place, two points behind the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.
Steven Stamkos led the NHL with 60 goals last season and shows no signs of losing that title this year. Stamkos has been a blessing for the Lightning since being drafted 1st overall in 2008.
The Lightning hope to continue winning Thursday night at home against the Islanders while the Panthers move on to face the Boston Bruins. The Bruins gave up a two goal lead to the Penguins Tuesday before losing 3-2.
Tampa Bay has been looking for more consistency from their players and it showed late in the game Tuesday. The Lightning beat the Panthers 3-2 and played aggressive hockey throughout, a bright sight for Lightning fans who hope to see their team back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season.