That was fun.
Brayden Point scored on a breakaway 2:13 into overtime and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.
Point took a long feed from Ondrej Palat and backhanded one past Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to send Bolts Nation home happy.
Overtime between these two teams was absolutely bonkers with Bobrovsky stopping a Victor Hedman breakaway & Vasilevskiy absolutely robbing Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad in just the first minute of extra time.
Patrick Maroon & Steven Stamkos also scored for Tampa Bay.
The Lightning had the first good look of the game when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had a wide-open net after some solid work in the offensive zone by Tampa Bay's third line, but he fired it wide.
Panthers forward Anthony Duclair had a chance to put the visitors ahead about three minutes into the game, but his breakaway attempt was blockered away by Vasilevskiy.
Tampa Bay earned the first power play opportunity of the night after some sustained pressure in the Florida zone and a cross checking call on Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.
And the Bolts made the Cats pay.
Ross Colton fired - and I mean FIRED - a pass across the top of the crease to Maroon on the doorstep, and the Bolts veteran winger was able to re-direct it past Bobrovsky to put the Lightning ahead 1-0 at the 12:17 mark of the 1st.
Florida got their first crack on the power play after one of the worst calls you're ever going to see.
As Hedman followed Florida winger Carter Verhaeghe into the corner to get the puck, the former Lightning forward lost his footing and somehow Hedman was whistled for tripping.
Fortunately for the Bolts & their fans, the penalty was killed off successfully and the score remained 1-0.
The play was pretty even through the first half of the 2nd period, but things were taken to another level when Point and Florida's Patric Hornqvist dropped the gloves.
That scuffle seemed to give the crowd - and the Lightning - some energy and it paid immediate dividends as Hedman scored just 16 seconds later to put the Bolts up two.
To Florida's credit, they battled back and tied it right up.
About four minutes later, Jonathan Huberdeau & Eeto Luostarinen scored 36 seconds apart to tie the score at 2-2. Huberdeau spun and fired a shot that beat Vasilevskiy high over the shoulder & Luostarinen's goal was a tip of an Ekblad shot from the point.
The play was pretty even through the majority of the 3rd, with the best scoring chance coming just under five minutes left in the period. Florida's Sam Bennett had a golden opportunity to score, but Vasilevskiy made a sprawling left pad save to keep the score tied.
Bobrovsky made 21 saves for the Panthers in defeat.
CHANGE IT UP!! : A couple of lineup changes for tonight's game against the Panthers. Zach Bogosian (lower body) returned to the lineup after being injured on opening night against the Penguins. Mikhail Sergachev returned to the blue line after serving a two-game suspension for a hit on Mitch Marner up in Toronto. Boris Katchouk was on the 4th line after being out for the last six games & registered his first NHL point on Hedman's goal in the 2nd.
YOU GUYS....AGAIN!! : This was the 19th time the Lightning & Panthers have faced off in the 2021 calendar year, including preseason and playoffs.
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Maroon - (Colton, McDonagh) - 12:17
- Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Katchouk, Bogosian) - 9:02
- Florida - Huberdeau - (Barkov, Carlsson) - 12:59
- Florida - Luostarinen - (Ekblad, Lomberg) - 13:35
- Tampa Bay - Point - (Palat) - 2:13
- Florida - Lomberg - (Roughing) - 5:20
- Tampa Bay - Rutta - (Roughing) - 5:20
- Florida - Weegar - (Cross Checking) - 10:49
- Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Tripping) - 18:33
- Florida - MAJOR - Hornqvist - (Fighting) - 8:46
- Tampa Bay - MAJOR - Point - (Fighting) - 8:46
- Florida - Weegar - (Embellishment) - 18:27
- Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Holding) - 18:27
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Monday night as they welcome in the New York Islanders to Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm with the pregame show starting at 6:00pm on Lightning PowerPlay & NewsRadio WFLA.
PHOTO : Courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning