SUNRISE, FL - With only sixteen seconds left in overtime, Florida Defenseman Jason Garrison would roof a wrist shot past back-up goaltender Mike Smith to send the Tampa Bay Lightning home with yet another March defeat, their sixth in seven games and second in back to back nights against last place hockey teams, as the Bolts fell 4-3 to the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning got two third period power play goals from captain Vincent Lecavalier and Simone Gagne to force overtime, after trailing by two early in the final frame. Florida's David Booth opened the scoring in the second period, scoring against Smith on a two on one, his 21st of the season. Steven Stamkos would even the score ten minutes later on the powerplay, drilling home his 43rd of the season. All three Lightning goals were scored on the power play, a positive sign going forward as Florida is one of the leagues best penalty kills.
Goalie Mike Smith, starting in place of Dwayne Roloson on a back-to-back night, showed why he has become a backup by allowing a cheap goal to Ryan Carter, his second and first with the Panthers, early in the third period. Carter skated the length of the ice and flipped a wrist shot on net in front of two Lightning defensemen and beat Smith five hole on what should of been a routine save. Panthers forward Niclas Bergfors would make it 3-1 just three minutes later by tipping in a puck amidst a scramble in front of the Lightning net.
Smith would finish with 23 saves, while Florida backup Scott Clemmensen made 35 saves as the Lightning again out-shot its opponent but failed to put more pucks in the net.
The Lightning may of played well enough to win, but no doubt will not be happy with the single point in the standings as their win-less funk continues. March has been a disaster for the Bolts as they have won only once so far and find themselves three points out of first in the Southeastern division. Next up, is a three game Canadian road swing to Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.