|@ Panthers (3-2-0)||2||0||0||2|
The period started off with a few quick saves from Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. Besides some tough play by Brickley, the first five minutes of the period were fairly dominated by the Lightning. The only Panthers shot on goal in the first five minutes of play was on a wrist shot by Erik Gudbranson that was gloved by Ben Bishop. After some fancy passes by Brian Campbell, the Panthers started generating some offense but to no avail. Willie Mitchell shot a slap shot that ended in a Lightning takeaway and a hooking penalty on Reilly Smith. After a few pad saves by Luongo, the penalty was killed. Vincent Trocheck had a decent attempt on goal but Bishop’s goal pad stopped the play. At this point, the Panthers started to generate some serious offense.
Derek MacKenzie made his way through a sea of players to score after a pass from Quinton Howden. Alex Petrovic got the secondary assist. This was MacKenzie’s second goal of the preseason. Brandon Pirri tried to knock in a goal from a pass by Reilly Smith not long after but the shot was saved and covered by Bishop. Connor Brickley was tripped by Mike Angelidis and the Panthers got their first power play of the game with about 3:30 left in the period. Jussi Jokinen drove the puck hard to the net but was stopped. However, he did draw a hooking penalty against Erik Contra on this play and the Panthers had approximately 50 seconds 5-on-3. Nick Bjugstad did what he does best and hit the puck right into the top left corner of the goal. This goal was assisted by Brian Campbell and Brandon Pirri. This was Bjugstad’s second goal of the preseason as well. The period ended with the Panthers leading 2-0. The Panthers had 15 shots on goal and the Lightning had 11.
The second period started off just as the first did with a handful of great Luongo saves. Over all, the first half of the period was fairly quiet aside from a few wrist shots from both sides that were gloved and deflected. Trocheck had a particularly nice cross-ice shot but it was stopped. Lu continued to stop all shots coming his way into the second half of the period. At 13:12 into the period, Steven Stamkos was sent to the penalty box on a hooking call. Like the rest of this period, the power play was fairly lackluster. The Panthers were unable to take too many shots because the Lightning iced the puck at every possible opportunity they had. The play speeded up for both teams in the last five minutes of the period, especially for the Panthers’ top line. However, the puck stayed out of both team’s nets and the score remained 2-0, with the Panthers in the lead. The Panthers had 13 shots on goal this period for a total of 28 and the Lightning had 5 for a total of 16. Compared to the first period, this one could have put you to sleep.
Aleksander Barkov started the third period off strong with some work along the boards in the offensive zone. At 15:05 into the period, Dmitry Kulikov was sent to the penalty box on a boarding call on Steven Stamkos, to whom he actually apologized for the hit, and the Panthers went on the penalty kill. Derek MacKenzie had an opportunity on the penalty kill but the shot was stopped by the pad of Bishop. The Panthers killed the penalty without much trouble. At 7:39 in the period, Brian Campbell got a hooking penalty and the Panthers went back on the penalty kill. Fortunately, Luongo made some beautiful stick saves and the Lightning could not capitalize on their power play. The Panthers began to look a bit tired but the Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr line was able to get in a few decent shots.
The fourth line grind also became a very real thing as the third period winded down. Brickley tried to slam the puck top shelf but just missed. This is where it all goes south. The Lightning took advantage of the Panthers’ tiredness and Ondrej Palat scored at 14:34 into the period. The goal was assisted by Brian Boyle. The Lightning started to gain momentum and with 3:48 left in the game, Brian Boyle tied the game up at 2. The goal was assisted by Erik Contra and Jonathan Drouin. Brayden Coburn got a penalty at 16:48 but Barkov was sent to the box just seconds later for hooking and a bit of 4-on-4 action ensued. Ekblad took a fall and Jonathan Druin took advantage, giving the Lightning a one goal lead with 2:02 left in the game. The goal was assisted by Anton Stralman and Nikita Nesterov. The Lightning won 3-2. The Panthers had 6 shots on goal in the period for a total of 34 and the Lightning had 14 for a total of 30.
The Reilly Smith-Brandon Pirri-Nick Bjugstad line was explosive throughout the game. Aleksander Barkov took most faceoffs for the team and was a crucial part in keeping the puck in the Panthers’ possession. The fourth line, consisting of Connor Brickley, Quinton Howden, and Derek MacKenzie, proved to be a strong offensive force throughout the game. Brickley, a dark horse in the race for a permanent spot on the team, continued to dazzle the crowd. Vincent Trocheck had a particularly good night and had a couple of close shots.
Quotes from Coach Gallant
The next game is the Panthers’ first regular season game on Saturday, October 10th at 7:00 PM ET against the Philadelphia Flyers. Stay tuned for the COTP preview and recap of that game.