Tom Pyatt and Dana Tyrell were key, as both had a goal and assist during the second period, putting things a little out of reach. Benoit Pouliot also chipped in two assists.
Head Coach Guy Boucher, in his postgame press conference, noted that the Lightning is building a third line, something teams need as playoffs draw near. He also praised Tyrell, Pyatt and Pouliot’s work ethic, saying they fly down the ice.
The power play seems to be heating up as well, with both Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier converting there. The penalty kill was perfect once again, shutting down the Panthers when needed. Rookie Cory Conacher was also flying, contributing a goal and assist. It should have been two goals though, as he eluded a Panther defenseman and broke away to score. However, he was called for holding which negated the goal.
Anders Lindback once again made key saves when called upon for the Lightning, finishing with 26 saves on 28 shots. He can now rest before Friday’s game against another division rival, the Winnipeg Jets. Backup Mathieu Garon will likely start Saturday versus the New York Rangers.
Panther goals came from Peter Mueller early and Tomas Fleischmann on a third period shorthanded breakaway.
With this win the Lightning, who have scored a league-best 29 goals, improve to 5-1-0. More importantly, they are flawless (4-0-0) on home ice thus far this season. Their 10 points also lead the Southeast Division, and they are only one behind the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins. Not bad for a team many still think isn’t as good as they’ve recently shown.
By Lauren Burg