NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Florida
(Friday, December 26th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone notched the game-winner in the fourth round of the shootout as Tampa Bay blew a two-goal lead but topped Florida, 4-3, in the opener of a home-and-home set at BankAtlantic Center.
After Lightning goalie Mike Smith foiled Stephen Weiss to open the fourth round, Malone stuck a forehander to the stick side on Florida netminder Craig Anderson.
Steve Eminger netted a goal and two assists for the Lightning, who have won two in a row, both on the road. Mark Recchi and Evgeni Artyukhin also tallied while Smith came up with 25 saves.
Keith Ballard, Cory Stillman and Bryan McCabe scored for the Panthers, who have dropped three of five.
Starter Tomas Vokoun allowed three goals on 27 shots through two periods. Anderson stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period and overtime.
Vokoun surrendered a bad goal with 8:36 remaining in the first period, allowing Eminger's knuckling shot from the blueline slip up his pads and in.
Ballard countered for Florida with just over 90 seconds left in the first on a floater from the left point, and saved a potential go-ahead goal right before the buzzer, sweeping out Malone's shot with his stick before the puck fully crossed the goal line.
Tampa then assumed a two-goal lead late in the second on Recchi's eighth of the season at 16:53 and on Artyukhin's backhander at 18:27.
Florida rallied to tie the game on a pair of late scores.
Stillman cut the Panthers deficit to 3-2 with a power-play score at 13:37, taking the loose rebound of Jay Bouwmeester's shot and lifting it over a fallen Smith.
McCabe then rifled home a shot from the point with 13.9 seconds left in regulation as Anderson was on the bench for an extra attacker.
Both clubs meet in Tampa on Saturday...Florida has won four of the last six meetings, including two of three this season...The Lightning improved to 2-5 in the shootout this year, while the Panthers fell to 2-3.
12/26 22:41:36 ET