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Lightning Vs Panthers: Final Score 4-7; Penalties: Things Fall Apart

The Tampa Bay Lighting shot itself in the foot, giving the Florida Panthers 9 power plays, 5 of which they were able to convert.  The Bolts lose their opener and now hold a 1-3-2 record.

The start of the third period didn't bode well. With 14 second left off the power play from the second period, Kris Versteeg was able to force his second goal of the game and bring the score to 3-5 Panthers.  Florida turned it around but Rolson began to show signs of life with a nice glove save. A couple pucks taken in the chest, but he looked ready to hold the Panthers off.

The team was getting frantic. A high stick to the face of Marcel Goc sent Steve Downie to the penalty box.  His frustration evident, Downie threw the puck down in frustration.  When considered with his earlier misconduct penalty, Downie's just being pissy. Thankfully, the Bolts were able to stop the 6th Panther power play. Stamkos followed the penalty kill with a goal off a  20ft wrist shot. The score stood a mere 4-5 Panthers and the Lightning had 9 minutes to score (at least) the equalizer.   

After several minutes of hard Lightning offensive pressure, a defensive lapse allowed Panther's Stephen Weiss to put the puck in the net from directly in front of the increasingly pulverized Roloson.  Weiss's puck soon had company.  Two overlapping penalties, a tripping on Paul Kubina and a delay of game on Eric Brewer, gave Jason Garrison the chance to score on a 3-5 situation. The score falls to 4-7.  After Garrison's goal, the Lightning floundered along, their forward Mattias Ritola picking up a nice boarding penalty to give the Panther's their 9th power play, but with the score out of reach, the clock dwindled down.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning losing their home opener, along with their overall disappointing start, the Bolts need to continue what head coach Guy Bucher calls their experimental phase.  "We've got new guys, where they fit and who they play with, who to put on the power play and penalty kill, who's in the lineup and who's not. It's a juggling act that slowly we're going to funnel down to make it a little bit more solid and consistent but we're still experimenting and that's where we were last year." In fact, Bucher doesn't seem all that worried about the Lightning's slow start.  "I think it's important to realize that at the beginning of last year we were 7-7."  Despite Boucher's optimism, this disheartening loss makes the Bolt's road back to the playoffs that much harder. 

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