Yet another game between Florida’s hockey hotbeds was undecided in regulation and overtime tonight. The Panthers evened up the season series at 2 with a shootout win. The Lightning jumped out to a one-goal lead in the first, the Panthers evened it up in the second, and each team scored a goal in the third to send the game into extra time.
It was another evenly matched games between the intrastate rivals. It was the third straight meeting that needed a shootout to determine a winner. The Lightning took the first two shootout decisions, while the Panthers were able to snag the “W” tonight.
The first shooter scored in the skills competition tonight, and that goal by Florida’s Mike Santorelli would stand as the shootout winner.
Marc-Andre Bergeron got his second goal in a Lightning uniform to open the scoring, and Santorelli closed out the regulation scoring to send the game into overtime. The Panthers had to kill a penalty in overtime to push a shootout, and they were on the defensive much of the game as the Lightning out-shot them 36-26 through 65 minutes.
Eric Brewer debuted for the Bolts tonight after being acquired from the Blues in a trade yesterday. He finished the night with 17:29 of ice time, 15:52 of which came at even strength. He had 2 shots, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot and finished the game with a plus-1 rating.
The Bolts are now 5-3-2 on their homestand with two games remaining. They earned a point, putting them five ahead of the Capitals in the division race.
Another notable time of the game came when Steven Stamkos was boarded from behind by Mike Weaver. With all of the attention being paid to any and all hits to the back (especially high ones), the hit immediately sent a shockwave throughout the Internet. Everyone had opinion. Weaver got two minutes on the play, and that was probably fair. He could’ve been given five, but anything more than that likely would have been overkill on a bad-luck, awkward play. One the league should not spend its precious time reviewing.
The Lightning are two games and a week away from hitting the road again. They will play Phoenix on Wednesday and New Jersey on Friday before closing out February with a road game in New York. They will need to finish strong against tough opponents to be able to consider this month a success.