Panthers Strike Lightning in Overtime

If the Florida Panthers could play the Tampa Bay Lightning every night, they would have a much better shot at reaching the playoffs. Jason Garrison scored in overtime, and the Panthers beat their cross state rivals for the fourth time in five tries this season, 4-3 Saturday night in Sunrise.

After Tampa Bay missed a two-on-one chance one way, Florida went two-on-one the other way and Mike Santorelli’s pass reached Garrison’s stick. He turned to his backhand and beat Mike Smith up high.

The first period was scoreless, but the fireworks started early in the second, when David Booth got his 21st goal of the season. Tampa Bay was caught on a bad line change, and Booth led a three-on-one. He kept the puck and fired a shot stick side passed Smith.

The Lightning got the game tied at the 14:10 mark of the second period, on Steven Stamkos’ 43rd goal of the season. With Tampa Bay up a man, Martin St. Louis slid a pass over to Stamkos, who beat Scott Clemmensen with a one timer passed the glove hand.

Ryan Carter gave the Panthers the lead again 2:22 into the third period. Carter lugged the puck up ice and shot between two Lightning defenders and through the legs of Smith. It was a very weak goal allowed by the back up goalie, who hasn’t seen much action since the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson. Niclas Bergfors made it 3-1 Panthers just a few minutes later when he stole a clearing attempt and shot over a fallen Smith.

However, penalty trouble allowed Tampa Bay back into the game, as Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne scored power play goals to tie things up. St. Louis directed a shot towards the net, which Lecavalier deflected in for the second Lightning goal. Gagne tied the game when he threw a rebound shot off of Clemmensen’s back from behind the net, which found its way passed the line.

The Panthers play the fifth of a seven game home stand against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

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