NHL Game Summary - Florida at Tampa Bay
(Thursday, March 13th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Florida 4
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Steven Stamkos scored his first two points since returning from a broken leg to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers.
Stamkos had a goal and an assist, while Sami Salo, Tyler Johnson, Michael Kostka and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Lightning, who snapped a five- game slide. Valtteri Filppula gave three assists while Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.
Brandon Pirri had a goal and an assist while Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall and Quinton Howden all scored for the Panthers, who have lost their past three. Dan Ellis made 23 saves in defeat.
"We responded. I thought it was really good energy coming out," said Florida head coach Peter Horachek. "We didn't quit. We just kept pushing. We kept getting some great chances in the second period and we had some chances in the third period and their goalie played well."
Stamkos' goal came at 10:47 of the third while on the power play as Filppula sent a sharp pass from the left point to the right circle where Stamkos one- timed it home for a 5-2 lead.
Florida tried to make a late comeback, as Upshall scored on a 2-on-1 with 1:05 to play, and Pirri got the puck home with 26.5 seconds showing on the clock to make it a 5-4 contest.
The Panthers, though, were unable to get any more chances before the clock ran out.
"For 59 minutes I think we stuck to the game plan," said Stamkos. "We could have easily put our tail between our legs after they scored those two quick goals, but that's one thing we talked about, no matter what happens in the game, let's stay on it. We did and I thought we deserved the win today."
Florida drew first blood at 1:44 of the game on the power play when Fleischmann tapped home a Dmitry Kulikov pass, but the Lightning answered four minutes later off a left circle faceoff win that saw Salo blast it home.
It took all of 12 seconds for the Panthers to get the lead back as Howden's quick shot from the left side fooled Bishop.
The Lightning tied the game again at 8:18 of the first when Kostka took a feed in the high slot and blasted it home.
Callahan finished off a crisp passing play with Filppula and Ondrej Palat at 12:04 of the second period to give Tampa the lead, and it was 4-2 when a strong forecheck saw Johnson finish it off for his 21st of the year at 18:53.
Tampa hosts New Jersey on Saturday ... Florida hosts New Jersey on Friday ... The Lightning won all four games against the Panthers this season for their first series sweep against Florida ... Florida went 1-for-2 on the power play and Tampa was 1-for-4.
03/14 00:52:42 ET