Panthers 7, Lightning 4

Lonnie Herman  - TBL.com correspondent | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

The raucous sellout crowd for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s home opener tonight stood in sharp contrast to the silent Lightning locker room after the Bolts stretched their winless streak to five (and two consecutive to the Florida Panthers) as penalties and special teams tripped Tampa Bay on the way to a 7-4 loss.

Photos: Lightning vs. Panthers
Video:  Game Highlights
Statistics: Game Summary
Tickets: Buy Tickets

The Lightning battled back several times to close the gap to one goal, but they could never come any closer as a steady stream of penalties kept the team off-balance and led to a parade to the penalty box which eventually spelled the Bolt’s downfall.

The enthusiastic crowd was into the game from the start, cheering each time a Lightning player touched the puck, but Panther forward Tomas Kopecky silenced them at the 6:15 mark when he collected the first of what would eventually top out at five power play goals.

The Lightning drew even just over three minutes later as Teddy Purcell collected his 2nd goal of the season, a power play score, assisted by Ryan Shannon and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

Tampa Bay even briefly grabbed the lead when Victor Hedman blasted the puck past Panther goaltender Jose Theodore from the high slot for his first goal of the season.

The first period drew to a close at 2-2 when Stephen Weiss nailed his first of two goals on the night with less than 3 minutes remaining in the period. Weiss would eventually finish with 2 goals and 2 assists, as would Kris Versteeg.

Brian Campbell collected four assists for the Panthers.

Tampa Bay continued to battle back from each deficit, drawing within striking distance of the Panthers two separate times, following scores by Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. Their goals were the 2nd of the season for both players.

But each time that the Lightning closed the scoring gap, the penalties would halt their momentum and throw the advantage back to the visitors. In all, Tampa Bay was whistled for 11 infractions for a total of 33 minutes of short-handed skating.

“We were undisciplined tonight,” Stamkos said. “We took too many penalties. It’s a big disappointment.”

Those short-handed situations turned to scores by the Panthers, more often than not. They converted on five of nine extra man chances and added a short-handed goal by former Lightning Sean Bergenheim.

Coach Guy Boucher shared the frustration of his team taking too many infractions.

“We lost this game on the penalty kill,” Boucher said.  “We took way too many penalties. We scored four goals,” he continued. “That should be enough to win at home.”

But it wasn’t tonight, as the whistles disrupted the Lightning’s momentum all game.

On the plus side, the Lightning outshot the Panthers, 39-33. Martin St. Louis led all shooters with eight attempts.

The loss was the fifth in a row for the Lightning, but as Boucher pointed out, last season the team carried a record of seven wins, seven losses, before all the pieces began to jell.

“The thing we don’t want to do is panic,” Boucher said. “The reality is we have to get better now. We haven’t been able to quite get it all together yet.”

Getting it all together and turning it around – that’s job 1 for the Lightning now.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
06:15FLA PPG - Tomas Kopecky (1) ASST: Ed Jovanovski (1), Brian Campbell (4) 1 - 0 FLA
09:22TBL PPG - Teddy Purcell (2) ASST: Ryan Shannon (3), Marc-Andre Bergeron (4) 1 - 1 Tie
14:00TBL Victor Hedman (1) ASST: Adam Hall (1), Nate Thompson (2) 2 - 1 TBL
17:12FLA PPG - Stephen Weiss (2) ASST: Dmitry Kulikov (2), Brian Campbell (5) 2 - 2 Tie
2nd Period
02:35FLA PPG - Kris Versteeg (2) ASST: Stephen Weiss (2), Brian Campbell (6) 3 - 2 FLA
12:17FLA SHG - Sean Bergenheim (1) ASST: NONE 4 - 2 FLA
16:21TBL Vincent Lecavalier (2) ASST: Marc-Andre Bergeron (5), Matt Gilroy (1) 4 - 3 FLA
3rd Period
00:25FLA PPG - Kris Versteeg (3) ASST: Tomas Fleischmann (2), Stephen Weiss (3) 5 - 3 FLA
10:53TBL Steven Stamkos (2) ASST: Matt Gilroy (2), Marc-Andre Bergeron (6) 5 - 4 FLA
15:28FLA Stephen Weiss (3) ASST: Kris Versteeg (3), Ed Jovanovski (2) 6 - 4 FLA
16:47FLA PPG - Jason Garrison (2) ASST: Brian Campbell (7), Kris Versteeg (4) 7 - 4 FLA
Three Stars of the Game
Stephen Weiss
Stephen Weiss
G: 2Shots: 6
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 4PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 18:09
Kris Versteeg
Kris Versteeg
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 2Hits: 2
PTS: 4PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:27
Marc-Andre Bergeron
Marc-Andre Bergeron
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 3Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 18:35
Penalty Summary
1st Period
04:35TBL Adam Hall  Cross checking against  Ryan Carter
06:51TBL Ryan Malone  Fighting (maj) against  Erik Gudbranson
06:51FLA Erik Gudbranson  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Malone
07:26FLA Tomas Fleischmann  Hooking against  Steve Downie
07:26TBL Steve Downie  Misconduct (10 min)
11:31FLA Tomas Kopecky  Tripping against  Pavel Kubina
14:09TBL Matt Gilroy  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
16:21TBL Eric Brewer  Hooking against  Erik Gudbranson
2nd Period
00:46TBL Martin St. Louis  Tripping against  Stephen Weiss
11:14FLA Dmitry Kulikov  Holding against  Vincent Lecavalier
18:39TBL Dominic Moore  Slashing against  Jack Skille
3rd Period
08:33TBL Steve Downie  Hi-sticking against  Marcel Goc
15:52TBL Pavel Kubina  Tripping against  Sean Bergenheim
16:02TBL Eric Brewer  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:28TBL Mattias Ritola  Boarding against  Mike Weaver
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays5/91/3
Faceoff Wins3929
Blocked Shots812
Penalty Minutes1133
7D. KulikovD0101223:14
9S. WeissC2206018:09
10D. BoothL0002013:39
12J. SkilleR00-13015:34
14T. FleischmannL0111218:49
18S. MatthiasC00-11010:36
19S. UpshallR0002013:20
20S. BergenheimL1002016:04
22M. BradleyR00-1109:21
24R. CarterL00-1109:44
32K. VersteegR2214016:27
43M. WeaverD0010020:30
44E. GudbransonD00-10512:44
51B. CampbellD04-10023:27
52J. GarrisonD1002021:39
55E. JovanovskiD02-11018:43
57M. GocC00-12017:19
82T. KopeckyR10-14215:01
60J. Theodore3539.89759:44
2E. BrewerD0002416:24
4V. LecavalierC1011016:22
7B. ClarkD00-12022:12
9S. DownieR00-101213:20
12R. MaloneL00-12511:09
13P. KubinaD0000221:37
14B. ConnollyR0002011:56
16T. PurcellL1013014:12
18A. HallR011029:38
19D. MooreC0003215:56
21M. RitolaC0001210:31
22R. ShannonR0101010:36
26M. St. LouisR0008221:09
44N. ThompsonC0122015:51
47M. BergeronD0303018:35
77V. HedmanD1012022:44
91S. StamkosC10-15019:16
97M. GilroyD0232215:16
30D. Roloson2633.78859:43