After killing off the penalty, the Lightning again took the lead on Vincent LeCavalier's 20th goal of the season at the two minute mark unassisted.
Martin St. Louis doubled the lead three minutes later by slinging the puck wide of Scott Clemmensen's stick for his 14th goal of the season. Ryan Shannon and Vincent LeCavalier assisted on the play.
Seven minutes in the Panthers cut into the Bolts lead as Mikael Samuellson gathered a rebound off of a Sean Bergenheim shot and beat an out of position Mathieu Garon for his sixth goal of the season.
Steven Stamkos stuffed his 34th goal of the season home with some perfect puck movement by Bolts Steve Downie and Victor Hedman in the Florida zone. The two set up Stamkos in front of the net with one man to beat. After a Clemmensen save he quickly stuffed it home to extend the lead back to two.
St. Louis scored his second goal of the period with five minutes remaining to put the Bolts on top, 5-2. St. Louis gathered a LeCavalier shot that went wide and tucked it past Clemmensen's left side. Ryan Shannon was also awarded an assist on the play, his second of the night. At this point, the Panthers pulled Clemmensen for rookie Brian Foster, who would see his first NHL action under less than optimal circumstances.
Sean Bergenheim cut back into the Tampa Bay lead with 45 seconds left in the period, breaking into the Lightning zone uncontested and beating Garon for his ninth goal of the season.
Hits: Lightning, 14-12
Blocked Shots: Lightning, 13-12
Faceoffs: Panthers, 20-18
Shots on Goal: Lightning, 26-14
Score: Lightning 5, Panthers 3