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(Saturday, February 16th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 6, Florida 5 (OT)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Benoit Pouliot's goal at 1:19 of overtime -- his second of the contest -- capped a rally and sent the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Florida Panthers, 6-5, on Saturday.
Pouliot was left alone atop the Florida crease to one-time a puck which had bounced off the end boards and past Panthers defenseman Tyson Strachan into a half-open net.
"We were lucky to get the win, but it was just a matter of being in the right spot at the right time," Purcell said.
Steven Stamkos added two goals and one assist for the Lightning, who snapped a six-game slide on the road against their long-time division rivals.
Alex Killorn picked up his initial NHL tally and Teddy Purcell also scored to back 25 saves by Anders Lindback.
Jack Skille, Jonathan Huberdeau, Shawn Matthias, Jerred Smithson and Tomas Kopecky lit the lamp for the Panthers, losers of four straight, including the last three beyond regulation.
Jose Theodore stopped only 30-of-36 shots in defeat.
"We're just not finishing," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "You're not going to get in the playoffs with 48 points. You can't try to get a point a game; it's just not going to work. We've got to find a way a more complete effort and end up with two points."
Matthias opened the scoring at the 48-second mark with a tip from a Mike Weaver point shot, but Tampa struck back with scores from Pouliot before five minutes elapsed and from Killorn just over two minutes later.
Matthias fed Skille with a nifty backhanded saucer pass for a 2-2 game with 2:27 gone in the second period, but Stamkos followed up a play in the crease and lifted a loose puck home on the backhand at 3:42.
Smithson pulled Florida even with five seconds to go in the middle frame.
The Panthers took a 4-3 lead at the 1:53 mark of the third, after Huberdeau finished off a passing play between Strachan and Drew Shore with a tap-in at the right post.
Kopecky pushed the edge to two goals at 3:24, redirecting a Stephen Weiss dish, but the Bolts climbed within 5-4 at 7:28 when Stamkos beat Theodore during a 4-on-3 power play.
Purcell then sent the game into the extra session on a tally with 11 seconds left in regulation, exploiting a seam in the defense to score from the high slot from a Stamkos feed.
"We tried not to shoot ourselves in the foot by making mistakes that weren't necessary," Stamkos said. "We gave them some momentum late in the period there, but it was important for us to stick to the structure and close out the game."
Tampa Bay has won both meetings this season and seven in a row since Nov. 6, 2011, including three straight in south Florida from that date ... Pouliot recorded his first multi-goal effort since Mar. 19, 2012 against Toronto, while Stamkos notched his second two-goal contest this season and tied a season-high with three points ... Florida has allowed at least six goals on three occasions this year.
02/16 19:51:00 ET
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