SUNRISE, Fla. (The Sports Xchange) – Reilly Smith scored the go-ahead goal with 4:28 left in the third period and Roberto Luongo snapped a personal four-game losing streak as the Florida Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on Monday night at the BB&T Center.READ MORE: Four More Bodies Found In Search For Missing Boaters Off Florida Coast
With the score tied 1-1, Smith stole the puck in the Tampa Bay end from Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Smith made a slick stickhandling move before beating goaltender Ben Bishop with a high wrist shot to the stick side, just inside the post.
Jonathan Marchessault scored the first goal for Florida (6-6-1), which won the Atlantic Division last season but started the day in last place. Derek MacKenzie added an empty-net goal with 36 seconds to seal the win.
The Lightning (7-5-1), who beat Florida 4-3 in a shootout earlier this season, could not get their high-powered offense untracked.
Luongo, who made 34 saves, had a lot to do with that as he outplayed Bishop (28 saves).
Marchessault’s goal came with just 3:10 expired in the first period as the Panthers’ power play clicked immediately. Tampa Bay defenseman Braydon Coburn was sent to the penalty box for a high-sticking call against Florida center Jared McCann.READ MORE: Free N95 Mask Rollout Underway In Fight Against COVID-19
Given the man advantage, Florida needed just 42 seconds to convert as Marchessault wristed a shot from the right circle after receiving a pass from defenseman Keith Yandle. Center Aleksander Barkov got the secondary assist.
Tampa Bay tied the score 1-1 with just 1:15 expired in the third period. Left winger Ondrej Palat beat Luongo unassisted for his second goal of the season.
Although he didn’t record a point, Florida veteran Jaromir Jagr played, and that was good news for the Panthers. Jagr had left Florida’s previous game due to a groin injury.
Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon gave a “state of the team” address to the media after the first period, expressing confidence in his club despite a shaky start.
“I’m satisfied with the effort and the play,” Tallon said. “Everyone’s contributing – we just have to get healthy. With a few breaks, we could be over .500.”
NOTES: Panthers LW Jussi Jokinen (knee), who has played only four games this season, is expected to return Thursday when Florida plays host to the San Jose Sharks. … Florida C Nick Bjugstad (broken hand) could make his 2016-2017 debut next week. … Florida D Steven Kampfer, 28, was waived. But when no team picked him up, he remained on the Panthers roster and was a healthy scratch for the 12th time in the past 13 games. … Florida also scratched LW Shawn Thornton and D Jakub Kindl. Thornton also has 12 scratches this season. … The Lightning recalled C Cory Conacher from AHL Syracuse. With LW Jonathan Drouin listed as day-to-day with an injury, Conacher’s presence provides insurance for Tampa Bay. But as it turns out, Tampa Bay scratched Conacher and Drouin along with D Valtteri Filppula. … Tampa Bay returns home to face the New York Islanders on Thursday.MORE NEWS: Canadian Man Gets 6 Months For Groping Attendant On Miami Flight
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