TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Panthers went into Tampa knowing how badly they needed a win, especially in a building where they have been very hard to come by in recent years.
Roberto Luongo got his 406th win in what he called ‘one of the craziest games’ he has played in.
Brandon Pirri scored the lone shootout goal and had a penalty shot goal as the Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Saturday night.
Luongo overcame early stumbles to stop an overtime penalty shot and three shots in the shootout to get within one victory of tying Glenn Hall for 8th place on the all-time list.
“It’s a good character win for the boys,” Luongo said. “I really wanted to make sure that I made the saves when I had to, especially given the way the game started.”
The Panthers, 2-4-2 in the last eight games, also got goals in regulation from Jussi Jokinen, Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad, who tied it late in the third.
Vladislav Namestnikov scored two goals for the Lightning, who have lost 8 of 11 (3-6-2). Cedric Paquette and Anton Stralman had the other Tampa Bay goals.
“We did a lot of good things,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We had the lead right to the bitter end. It’s tough. Guys are battling. We just don’t have a ton to show for it.”
Both teams have struggled offensively with Tampa Bay scoring 15 goals over the previous 10 games, while the Panthers had 13 goals in their previous seven games.
Lightning star Steven Stamkos had his penalty shot stopped by Luongo 3:09 into the extra session.
Pirri beat Ben Bishop for the eventual shootout winner.
Ekblad forced overtime on a power-play goal from the high slot with 37.9 seconds left in the third.
“We were pressing, and we worked really hard,” Pirri said. “It was a matter of sticking with it. We knew if we do that we were going to be pretty successful.”
Namestnikov got his second of the game to put the Lightning up 4-3 during a goalmouth scramble 9:56 into the third. He also had a second-period goal, which ended a 10-game goal drought.
After Bjugstad scored during a breakaway at 2:39 of the second, Pirri gave Florida a 3-2 lead on a penalty shot 2:08 later.
Stralman made it 3-3 on the rebound at 7:49 of the second to stop a 23-game goal drought going back to Mar. 30.
Tampa Bay went up 2-1 at 1:02 of the second when Luongo fell to the ice just before Namestnikov scored on a wrist shot.
“Caught an edge and couldn’t really recover from it,” Luongo said. “You guys will be able to watch it a few times on TV for sure. Obviously, it’s easier to digest with a win.”
Jokinen opened the scoring 4:48 into the first with a rebound goal after Bishop stopped a wraparound by Vincent Trocheck but couldn’t control the loose puck.
Bishop had allowed nine goals over his six previous games, a stretch where he won just once despite the strong play. He lifted his right pad upwards to stop a shot by Pirri with just under 2 minutes left in regulation.
Paquette tied it at 1 with 4:38 left in the first after J.T Brown hit the past following a ill-fated poke check by Luongo.
NOTES: Florida RW Jaromir Jagr played in his 1,565th NHL game and moved past Nicklas Lidstrom into sole possession of 10th place all-time. He was minus-1 and didn’t have a shot on goal. … Tampa Bay C Tyler Johnson was shaken up late in the second and went to the locker room after taking a check to the upper body-head area. He returned in the third period. … Panthers D Dmitry Kulikov left in the second with a lower body injury. … Florida C Aleksander Barkov missed his 10th straight game but may soon return from a hand injury.
The Panthers face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, November 16th at 7:30 p.m. You can hear every game on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, the radio home of the Florida Panthers.
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