NHL Game Summary - Florida at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, January 17th)
Final Score: Florida 4, Tampa Bay 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Cory Stillman had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers rallied to take a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.
Nathan Horton had three assists while Jay Bouwmeester scored the game-winner for the Panthers, who have won four of their last five. Craig Anderson started in net but was pulled after the first period, as he gave up three goals on 11 shots. Tomas Vokoun was stellar in relief, stopping all 22 shots he faced.
"In the first we were pretty bad and games like this are huge for us," said Bouwmeester. "It's a team that's below you in the standings and we had a couple of tough losses to them earlier, so these games, really, in our position you have to win."
Vincent Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who had won three of four coming into the contest. Mike Smith was charged with four goals on 21 shots in the loss.
"We started the game great," said Lecavalier. "We didn't give them anything in the fist period. We left it slip in the second and that can't happen to us, especially against a cross-state rival."
Trailing by two goals to start the second, Florida chipped away at the lead with a power-play goal. Horton's pass from the right side on the fly went to the slot where Stillman snapped it home at the 6:39 mark of the second.
A bit over four minutes later, the Panthers tied the game, 3-3, as, after several whacks in front of the net, Richard Zednik knocked it past Smith.
Florida's Ville Peltonen took a knee-to-knee hit that resulted in Tampa's Evgeny Artyukhin being assessed a tripping penalty, and the Panthers took advantage. Florida took the lead when Stillman fired a pass from the deep right side to the left circle, where Bouwmeester one-timed it past Smith's glove for a 4-3 lead as time expired in the second period.
Vokoun carried his excellent play from the second over into the third period and finished the frame with 13 saves to help Florida hold on for the win.
Tampa scored right after its first power play to take the lead as a left circle faceoff win found its way back to Matt Smaby, who fired a shot on net that was deflected by Lecavalier at the 4:37 mark of the first.
The Lighting used their second power play to increase their lead, as Prospal banged in his own rebound from the right side of the net with 6:24 to play in the first for a 2-0 edge.
Florida got one back with 2:05 to play in the first, as Greg Campbell wristed home a loose puck in the slot for his ninth goal of the season.
However, Tampa got the goal back just 51 seconds later. Martin St. Louis blasted a shot on net from the top of the right circle that Anderson stopped, but he left the rebound in front of him, where Ryan Malone grabbed it and tucked it home for a 3-1 advantage.
Lightning rookie forward Steven Stamkos was out of the lineup for the second time in five games as part of an ongoing program to increase his physical strength...Tampa hosts Dallas on Monday...Florida hosts Buffalo on Monday...Florida has won three of the five games against Tampa this season...Malone's goal was the 100th of his career...Bouwmeester has a goal in four straight games...The Panthers are 8-0-0 when Campbell scores a goal.
01/17 23:44:52 ET