Panthers use scoring burst to beat Lightning
SUNRISE, Fla.— New coach Bob Boughner called his first home game behind the Florida Panthers’ bench a “character” win.
Considering the third period his club had against its cross-state rival, it would be hard to argue.
Colton Sceviour, Jared McCann and Vincent Trocheck scored in a span of 2:28 in the third period to rally the Panthers to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
“It was a big character win, especially after being a little deflated from last night (a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay). Our message today was there’s no moral victories, come back to work. I think we did that,” Boughner said.
“Getting down 2-0 was digging a hole once again, once we tied it up, that showed a lot of character.”
Florida trailed 3-2 in the third period before Sceviour and McCann scored 36 seconds apart to give the Panthers (1-1-0) their first lead.
McCann’s goal was originally waved off for goalie interference on Connor Brickley. However, the call was overturned, giving McCann his first goal and Florida its first lead of the season.
“I know Bricks didn’t interfere at all with him. I kind of said a prayer there real quick, and it was answered,” McCann said.
“We had a lot of Grade-A scoring chances tonight. We were lucky enough to come out with the win.”
Trocheck rammed in the game-winner on a rebound in tight for a 5-3 lead at 8:34 off a shot from the left circle by Radim Vrbata.
After Tyler Johnson cut the lead to 5-4 with 5:48 remaining, the Panthers had to kill two power plays in the final 4:06 of the game, with the Lightning pulling goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for a 6-on-4 advantage in the final minute.
The win squared the two-game home-and-home series between the Panthers and Lightning.
“I have a feeling (we’re) going to have a rivalry with a lot of teams this year. We’ve got a fiery group in here that doesn’t like to lose. That’s good to see,” Trocheck said.
Evgenii Dadonov and Nick Bjugstad each collected a goal and had an assist for Florida. Aleksander Barkov had two assists and Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Micheal Haley, Vrbata, McCann and Brickley each had one.
Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brayden Point and Johnson scored for the Lightning (1-1-0). Steven Stamkos recorded two assists while Kucherov, Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde and Point each had one.
Florida goaltender James Reimer made 26 saves. Tampa Bay’s Vasilevskiy had 43.
The Lightning shocked the Panthers early, scoring a pair of goals 1:18 apart to quiet the Florida fans in the home opener and first home game under Boughner.
Stamkos was denied by Reimer, but Kucherov flipped in the rebound at 3:30 for his second goal of the year.
Namestnikov also scored his second at 4:48 on the power play when he tapped in a pass from Stamkos.
“They were better than us at that (5-on-5). I look at these two games that we split, probably feel a little fortunate that we got two points out of this because we didn’t deserve the two points tonight, right?” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
“The more deserving team got the two points.”
Florida tallied to cut the lead to 2-1 at 12:18 on the man-advantage when Ekblad’s long shot rang off the post and came right back to Dadonov, who zipped in a shot from the slot for his first goal.
The Panthers evened it 2-2 at 1:46 of the second period when Dadonov fed Bjugstad on a long stretch pass. The right winger fired a shot from the inside edge of the right circle for his first goal.
Point scored his second in as many nights when Palat dished him a pass that he shot past Reimer at 13:57 as the Lightning regained the lead.
NOTES: Tampa Bay RW J.T. Brown, an African-American player, bowed his head and raised his right fist during the national anthem. He had the same protest in a preseason game in Sunrise. ... The Lightning scratched C Gabriel Dumont, D Slater Koekkoek and D Andrej Sustr. ... Florida scratched C Denis Malgin, RW Owen Tippett and D MacKenzie Weegar. ... Jonathan Huberdeau recorded his 200th career NHL point on his assist of Evgenii Dadonov’s power-play goal.