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Lightning, Stamkos Top Florida Panthers In Shootout

Steven Stamkos bests Panthers goalie, Lightning pull a rabbit out of the hat.

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The following recap is brought to you by Raw Charge:

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout a score of 4-3.

The Lightning completely stole this game - first period was just dreadful and the first part of the second wasn't much better. These slow starts aren't very good, and are starting to really drag the team down. Sure, they seem to get it together later in the game, but not always. Thankfully, in this one, they managed to recover before it was too late.

The Lightning might as well have been still playing in the preseason with how disorganized they looked in the first half of the game. Chasing Mathieu Garon out of the game was probably not what Guy Boucher had in his game plan. And the team as a whole just did not look mentally prepared to be there.

Still, they managed to make it a game. Goals by Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos in the second period gave them a fighting chance. It was completely unnecessary for them to put themselves into that position in the first place, of course, but they figured it out. Eventually.

They finally got it together in the third period, with Steve Downie scoring the only goal midway through the third period to get them into overtime. And they were simply fantastic in overtime. This team is schizophrenic. They were as fantastic in OT as they were awful in the first.

Dwayne Roloson didn't allow a goal after he replaced Garon in the first period. And he also didn't allow a goal in the shootout. He was perfect on the night, even though he didn't start. Dominic Moore potting the game winner in the shootout definitely helped as well.

Malone was injured in the second and did not come back to play the third. He was diagnosed with the ubiquitous "upper body" injury. Victor Hedman did not play this game as he has a "lower body" injury.

The next game is Wednesday at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Game time is the regular 7:30 pm Eastern. If you're not attending the game, then stop by and say hi to us. The game thread opens at 7 pm.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.