NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Florida
(Saturday, October 15th)
Final Score: Florida 3, Tampa Bay 2 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Marcel Goc was the only successful shootout participant, giving the Panthers a 3-2 win in the opener of a home-and-home series against the Lightning.
Ed Jovanovski and Kris Versteeg each scored in regulation for Florida, which won its home opener after splitting its first two games on the road.
"It was great out there and most importantly was that we got the win," said Jovanovski. "That's what we're here for and the longer you go into your career the more the wins mean to you."
Jose Theodore stopped 28 shots, including five in overtime, while Mathieu Garon made 36 saves in defeat.
"I think we played a great game today and battled back twice," said Garon. "That shows you how hard it can be in this league, that we had to fight this hard just to get the one point."
Marc-Andre Bergeron lit the lamp twice in the third period for the Lightning, who finished a 1-2-2 road trip to start the season. Tampa Bay will open its home slate on Monday against its intra-state and Southeast Division rival.
Goc, Florida's second entry in the shootout, snuck one between Garon's pads, while Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier were each unsuccessful for Tampa Bay.
Jovanovski's power play tally accounted for the only goal in the first two periods, as his slap shot from the point hit off both a skate and stick in front before finding the back of the net at 11:48 of the opening stanza.
A silent second period was the calm before an entertaining final 10-plus minutes. Bergeron tied things with a slap shot at 9:43, only to have Versteeg answer with a power play goal off a cross-ice pass from Dmitry Kulikov with 2:55 to play.
The Lightning countered 39 seconds later when Bergeron's one-timer from the top of the right circle beat Theodore.
Florida won four of six over Tampa Bay last season...The Panthers improved to 9-5-2-2 all-time in home openers.
10/16 01:10:34 ET