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Panthers Fall To Lightning In A Battle Of The Heavyweights

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

When one team scored, the other quickly responded. The battle between the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the top two teams in the league, was a clash until the end.

The Panthers’ first goal early was followed by a Tampa goal thirty seconds later to make it 1-1. The two teams would swap goals to make the game 2-2 at the end of the second period and 3-3 with 6:25 left in the third period. Tampa scored two more goals to close it out 5-3.

The Panthers were at fault in their penalties and goalie play on Sunday. Following three strong penalty kills, the Cats couldn’t keep it going and let up their first PK goal after seventeen straight successful penalty kill shifts.

“Anytime you have a rivalry…it’s hard-fought inches on the ice…we’re not afraid to play,” Keith Yandle said.

Florida’s elite penalty kill kept them in play until they let up the one PPG in the five power plays. And the elite power play showed up with two goals on five power-play shifts, including one by Yandle.

The Panthers had two goals called back which could’ve put them up 2-1 in the second and 3-2 in the third. The first goal was called back because of an offside thirty seconds prior, and the second goal wasn’t called because the officials couldn’t see it from the given angles. However, there was an angle that showed a clear goal that would have given Florida their first lead since the first period, but it was not given.

“Common sense, it has to be in the net,” Coach Joel Quenneville said.

Carter Verhaeghe admitted, “we were head-to-head all game. I like the way we battled back when we got down there. They’re a good team… These are going to be good games.”

Star of the Game: Patrick Hornqvist (1G, 3H, 1BLK)

Hornqvist was everywhere on Sunday, and was vocal too. His power-play goal in the third tied up the game with 13:35 to go. He was also a strong component in defense tonight with a big block and three huge hits, and when he had to defend his team he did.

As the game ramped up so did the intensity between the two sides, so he played hard and defended his team; he even went to the penalty box towards the end of the game along with a Tampa player, proving that he’s gonna play hard and has his team’s back. He’s been nothing but a great acquisition this year.

Tyler Winter is studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Winter has written in the past, mainly covering high school sports and some New York Yankees.

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