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NHL Game Summary - Florida at Tampa Bay

(Monday, October 12th)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Florida 2

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone scored the game-winning goal late in the third period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied to edge the Florida Panthers, 3-2, in a battle between these two Southeast Division foes at St. Pete Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won two in a row after dropping the first three games of the season. Vincent Lecavalier had a pair of assists, while Antero Niittymaki stopped 31-of-33 shots for the victors.

"I don't think we really played our best game, but we got two points and I think it's the sign of a good team," said Niittymaki. "Even if you're not on the top of your game and you're still able to get two points...it's a long year and it happens sometimes."

Radek Dvorak and Nathan Horton had one goal apiece for the Panthers, who have lost four straight since a season-opening victory against Chicago. Tomas Vokoun turned aside 28-of-31 shots in defeat.

Down 2-1, St. Louis tied things up with his power-play goal at the 7:17 mark of the third. St. Louis' slapper from the left circle found the back of the net.

Malone's score with 6:31 remaining put the Lightning ahead 3-2. After Niittymaki made a great save, Stamkos led a rush the other way and slapped a shot on net. The disc deflected off Vokoun and settled near the post. Malone charged in from the point and chipped the puck into the net.

"He (Stamkos) took a good shot to get it through my armpit," said Vokoun. "It was lying beside the net and he (Malone) just poked it in."

Florida hit the crossbar in the final minutes but couldn't score a goal to tie the contest.

The Panthers drew first blood with a short-handed goal at the 8:10 mark of the first period. Dvorak charged down the right side of the ice to lead a 2-on-1 break for Florida. Kamil Kreps slid a pass to Dvorak, who fired a shot into an empty half of the net.

Tampa Bay lit the lamp on the power play with 1:28 left in the first to tie things up. Lecavalier controlled the disc at the bottom of the right circle before sliding a pass to St. Louis, whose shot from the point was deflected by Stamkos and into the net.

Horton's power-play goal at the 6:33 mark of the second put Florida ahead 2-1. Stephen Weiss' shot in front of the net hit off Niittymaki and set up a rebound for Horton, who chipped the disc into the back of the net.

Game Notes

These teams split six games last season. The Lightning, though, are 11-5-2 as the host in this series since February of the 2003-04 campaign...Tampa Bay plays at Ottawa on Thursday, while Florida hosts Philadelphia on Friday.

10/12 23:36:47 ET

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