The new and improved St. Pete Times Forum's first home game against the Florida Panthers is turning out to be a doozy. Both teams started the opening minutes applying excellent offensive pressure. The Bolt's defense looked shaky at first, then seemed to get the job done and solidify before the parade to the penalty box began. Going into the first period, the Tampa Bay Lighting had a 10% on the power play and a 92% on the penalty kill. Unfortunately, the Bolts would only improve on one of those statistics. Starting the evening off was a 56ft wrist shot by Panther's Alternate Captain Tomas Kopecky scored after a tripping penalty against Lightning forward Adam Hall.
Two minutes later, a good ol' fashion brawl between Lightning's Ryan Malone and Panther's Erik Gudbranson sent both to the penalty box for 5 minutes. Thirty seconds later, Panther's Tomas Fleischmann received 2 minutes for hooking Steve Downie. Steve Downie was then sent to the locker room to serve a 10 minute misconduct penalty. Thankfully, NHL rules dictate that a player receiving a misconduct penalty may be replaced by his team while he is in the locker room. Thus, the Lightning's Ted Purcell was able to score on a 4-on-3 with 4 seconds to go in the power play, killing the Panther's 9 penalty-kill streak. Everybody's out of the box.
5 minutes later and after a hectic minute and a half, Tampa's 20 year old potential star-in-training Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the season, giving the Bolts a 2-1 lead. However, two back to back penalties would even the score again. The Lightning survived one delay of game on Matt Gilroy, but the subsequent hooking on Kubina was too much pressure. Panther forward Stephen Weiss scored the equalizer, his team's second power point of the game, and the score is 2-2 after one period.