Tuesday, October 13, 2009

3rd period comeback propels Lightning to win

A sprawling save by Antero Niittymaki turned into an assist on Ryan Malone's third-period, game-winning goal Monday night, as the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second consecutive game, beating the Florida Panthers 3-2 in front of 14,126 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.

Radek Dvorak's short-handed goal 8:10 into the game, gave Florida a 1-0 lead. Steven Stamkos continued his brilliant early-season play, netting a power play goal for the Lightning at 18:32, tying the game 1-1 through 20 minutes.

The Panthers regained the lead on a Nathan Hoton power play goal at 6:33 of the middle period, taking a 2-1 lead after two.

Tampa Bay would turn it on in the third period for the second straight game, to grab their second straight win. Martin St. Louis snapped home a power play goal from near the left circle at 7:17 of the third, tying the game 2-2. Then, with Florida storming the Lightning goal, Niittymaki made the biggest play ofn the night with a sprawling save. Stamkos picked up the puck and eventually found Ryan Malone, who zipped a backhander into the net at 13:29. Malone's 4th goal in his last two games proved to be the game-winner, as Tampa Bay held on for the 3-2 win.

Antero Niittymaki, making his second consecutive start, made 31 saves for the Lightning. Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos had a goal and assist each and Vinny Lecavalier had two assists. Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves for the Panthers, who were 1-for-5 on the power play. Tampa Bay was 2-for-6 on the power play and allowed a short-handed goal.

The Lightning improve to 2-1-2 on the season good for 6 points and a first place tie with Washington in the Southeast Division. Florida slips to 1-4-0, 4 points out of first in the Southeast.

Tampa Bay plays at Ottawa Thursday night, with puck drop on 620 WDAE and Sun Sports set for 7:30p.m. EDT. The Lightning travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Florida hosts Philadelphia on Friday.

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