TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning are happy they didn’t lose more than the game.
Mike Santorelli scored the tying goal with three minutes left in regulation before adding the lone one of the shootout to lead the Florida Panthers past the Southeast Division-leading Lightning 3-2 on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay got a scare eight minutes into the game when Steven Stamkos, the NHL’s goal-scoring leader with 40, was shaken up after being sent into the end boards by Florida defenceman Mike Weaver. Weaver received a two-minute boarding penalty.
The Lightning centre skated off the ice after a couple minutes and returned later in the period.
“We’re really lucky on this one,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “Anytime there’s knees going into the boards at full speed, there’s a lot of worry there.
“So, we are quite happy at this point.”
Stamkos hit the post in overtime, and wound up playing 24 minutes 20 seconds on 26 shifts.
David Booth also scored for Florida, and Scott Clemmensen stopped 34 shots in regulation and all three he faced during the shootout. The Panthers have played 35 one-goal games (15-13-7) this season, including 17 of their last 19 contests.
“One thing that this team does is give the fans their money’s worth in effort,” Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. “It’s not always pretty, and we don’t always win, but they don’t cheat you in effort.”
Marc-Andre Bergeron and Sean Bergenheim scored for the Lightning, who have lost three in a row and are 5-4-1 during a 12-game homestand.
Bergenheim gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead from the low slot just 14 seconds into the third, but Santorelli tied it on a power-play rebound goal.
Bergeron scored to put the Lightning up 1-0 at 4:45 of the first. Martin St. Louis assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to six games (seven assists).
Dan Ellis stopped a first-period shot during a breakaway by Booth, who later tied it 1-1 with a 5-on-3 power-play goal 24 seconds into the second.
Clemmensen made a point-blank save on St. Louis, who has not scored in his last nine games, midway through the second.
“The game was about us playing as a team,” Clemmensen said. “We were able to get that big goal at the end of the third period and force overtime.”
Ellis made 24 saves.
“It’s a tough one to take,” Boucher said. “We outshot them, out-chanced them.
“They scored on the same shots we made, but ours didn’t go in”
NOTES—Stamkos has gone five consecutive games without scoring a goal. … Tampa Bay D Eric Brewer, acquired in a trade Friday from St. Louis, made his Lightning debut. … Florida, which lost 4-3 to Detroit on Friday night, rested No. 1 goalie Tomas Vokoun. … Lightning G Dwayne Roloson also got the night off. … Tampa Bay D Mattias Ohlund has not scored a goal in his last 120 games, dating to April 7, 2009, against Calgary.