Needless to say, the last place Florida Panthers are struggling. After a 7-1 loss Saturday (1/26) the entire team was highly upset with their performance. After that loss, Kevin Dineen was unhappy, giving justifiably sharp answers to reporters:
Injuries has absolutely nothing to do with what happened tonight… We’ve said that every single game that we’ve played that time is short here and obviously we’re not taking good advantage of it. – Panthers Head Coach Kevin Dineen
So the Panthers came into Tampa Bay yesterday riding a four game losing streak. Their last loss to the Philadelphia Flyers should have been more than enough motivation to come out with an impressive performance against in-state rivals. However, the Lightning came out and extended their own winning streak to four games, doing it in rather simple fashion. Stamkos began the scoring on the power play. After a series of heavy hits given to the Panthers by the Lightning, Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski was tripped by Lightning forward B.J. Crombeen. Crombeen had Jovanovski lined up for an open ice hit, but Jovanovski made an attempt to avoid the hit. As a result, he tripped over Crombeen’s knee, but defenseman Keaton Ellerby took no exception to it. Ellerby went after Crombeen, instigating the fight (for which he was penalized for. Also notable, Ellerby has a visor on his helmet.) and throwing a few punches before Crombeen had a real chance to defend himself.
From there, the Lightning were able to take advantage of momentum. Ellerby took a heavy amount of penalty minutes, including 2 minutes for instigating, 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, and a 10 minute misconduct penalty, all added onto to the default 5 minute major for fighting. Crombeen only took the original tripping penalty, plus his 5 minutes for fighting. The Lightning went to work on the powerplay, and Steven Stamkos scored on a second chance rebound, after being stopped by Jose Theodore in close. Although the Panthers were able to come back and score a confusion-induced goal on Anders Lindback after he mishandled the puck, the Lightning were able to retaliate rather quickly to ensure the momentum did not go the way of the Panthers. 1:25 after the Panthers’ goal, Cory Conacher scored after being sent into the zone just ahead of the Panthers’ defense by a hard pass from Victor Hedman at the defensive blueline. Conacher was taken down illegally from behind by Mike Weaver but Conacher was still able to slide the puck into the net for a 2-1 lead.
The Lightning tallied a goal again in the second period, when Dana Tyrell flipped the puck towards Tom Pyatt who was crashing the net. The puck went off of Pyatt’s glove and into the net. The play was quickly reviewed and the goal stood as a good one. A little over midway through the period, Conacher made a move in the offensive zone to beat a Panthers defenseman, but was called for what many described as a questionable holding penalty. It seemed as neither Conacher nor Theodore saw it as a penalty. Conacher picked up the puck and beat a fully attentive Theodore. Fortunately for Theodore, the goal was waved off because of a holding call to Conacher. The Lightning went on to kill the penalty, and scored a goal (this one allowed) when Pyatt found Tyrell camped in front of Theodore from behind the net. Tyrell fired it up over Theodore from in close for his first goal of the season, and also his first goal since the 2011 season. Tyrell was sidelined last season for knee surgery. The Lightning would end the period leading 4-1, marking the first time the Lightning outscored their opponent in the second period this season (2-0 last night).
The third period was rather quiet. Vincent Lecavalier scored after a nice passing sequence from Conacher and Benoit Pouliot that ended on Vinny’s stick. The Lightning gave up a shorthanded goal not too long afterwards, which may have been the only negative on the night for the team. The Lightning now have 10 points, 3 more than the Winnipeg Jets (2nd in the Southeast division). The Lightning are 2nd in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the 1st place Boston Bruins.
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Topics: Anders Lindback, B.J. Crombeen, Benoit Pouliot, Cory Conacher, Dana Tyrell, Ed Jovanovski, Florida PAnthers, Jose Theodore, Keaton Ellerby, Kevin Dineen, Mike Weaver, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tom Pyatt, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier