TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Brayden Point scored a backhand breakaway goal in overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Pat Maroon and Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning, who are 5-0-2 over the last seven games. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves.
”We’re managing the puck much better,” Point said. ”Not too many turnovers, not as many odd-man rushes against, and just competing.”
Point also got into a rare fight with Patric Hornqvist in the second period.
”Point wants to win,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. ”The puck drops, he’s a gamer. That’s not much that kid can’t do.”
Florida got goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Eetu Luostarinen, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots. The Panthers have a four-game winless streak (0-2-2) since starting the season 10-0-1.
”I think our effort is there,” Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said. ”We battled, we played hard, we gave everything we have. Last games it’s been some decisions we make with the puck and without the puck cost us a lot of goals and a lot of momentum in the games.”
”We need to stay positive,” Barkov added. ”Long season.”
Bobrovsky stopped Hedman on an overtime breakaway, while Vasilevskiy had a lunging post to post glove save on Aaron Ekblad.
”It was a little bit trading chances,” Cooper said. ”A big-time save (by Vasilevskiy).”
The Panthers tied it at 2 when Huberdeau and Luostarinen scored 36 seconds apart midway through the second. Huberdeau’s goal deflected off Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Luostarinen redirected Ekblad’s shot.
”This group competes,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. ”They bring it every night. I feel good about this group.”
Barkov assisted on Huberdeau’s goal and has a nine-game point streak (four assists, 11 points).
Tampa Bay, which entered 2 for 22 on the power play at home, converted its lone chance when Maroon scored at 12:17 of the first.
Florida went 0 for 1 with the man advantage,
Hedman made it 2-0 at 9:02 into the second. Boris Katchouk assisted for his first NHL point.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Including the playoffs and preseason games, this was the 19th game between the Panthers and Lightning in 2021. They will meet for a 20th time on Dec. 30, which according to the NHL will be the most games between two non-Original Six teams in any calendar year.
”The hotel we’re at is very, very, very familiar,” Brunette said.
Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev returned after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head on Toronto’s Mitch Marner on Nov. 4.
Panthers: C Joe Thornton (undisclosed) resumed practicing. . D Olli Juolevi (undisclosed) was sent to Charlotte (AHL) on a conditioning assignment.
Lightning: D Zach Bogosian (lower body), hurt opening night, played and had an assist.
Panthers: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Lightning: Host the New York Islanders on Monday night.
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