SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Tyler Johnson scored two of Tampa Bay’s four goals in the second period and the Lightning avenged a loss to Florida earlier in the week with a 6-1 victory over the Panthers on Saturday night.
Ondrej Palat, Mathieu Joseph and Barclay Goodrow scored, Alexander Volkov added his first NHL goal and the Lightning strengthened their hold on first place in the Central Division with a 3-1-0 road trip.
The Lightning (10-2-1) killed off four Florida power plays on the way to the win.
“I like everything,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. “It was a little humbling experience the other night. Guys did an exceptional job. The guys who stepped in delivered.”
The rematch featured another matchup between Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky, who started two nights earlier in the Panthers’ 5-2 victory.
Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots and ran his record to 9-2-1. A third-period goal by Frank Vatrano spoiled his shutout bid.
“He’s a big goalie, and when he gets in that rhythm and groove he’s as good as there is in the game,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. “You’ve got to find a way to get traffic in front of him … get in his face a little bit. We were a little on the outside today.”
Bobrovsky made 22 saves and fell to 5-1-1.
The Lightning owned the NHL’s top-ranked road power play entering the game and struck at 4:11 of the second on their second man advantage with Palat’s blast from the right circle in the second period.
The tempo picked up from there, with Tampa Bay withstanding a strong push by the Panthers and turning to its defense to push the lead to 2-0 after Joseph blocked a shot near the blue line and scored on a breakaway.
Gemel Smith’s steal along the boards resulted in Johnson’s first goal. Johnson backhanded in a rebound as the Lightning built a 4-0 lead.
“It definitely wasn’t our best effort (Thursday),” Johnson said. “We talked about it. The biggest thing was effort, working hard and staying within our structure.”
MacKenzie Weegar said the Panthers just didn’t show up in the finale of the two-game home series.
“They’ve got a lot of skill up front, a lot of speed,” the defenseman said. “(But) we just didn’t come to compete. It was on us tonight.”
In Thursday’s first meeting, the Panthers and Lightning played without first-line forwards Anthony Duclair and Steven Stamkos, respectively, who both wear No. 91 and were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 list.
However, Duclair, who has been held without a goal but has six assists, returned to the Panthers’ lineup Saturday. Stamkos was added to the list Friday and missed his second consecutive game.
Tampa Bay also played without second-line center Anthony Cirelli (upper body). The club announced he was week to week and would miss significant time after being injured in the third period on Thursday.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
Before the anthem, the Panthers organization honored the 17 lives lost in the 2018 school shooting at nearby Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day.
In the darkened arena, fans displayed the lights on their phones as the 17 names scrolled on the big screen above center ice.
The Panthers sported their new reverse retro jerseys for the first time. They will be a regularl sight during Saturdays at home. The blue-themed ensemble features their original leaping panther logo and red trim.
The intra-state rivals meet for the third consecutive time on Monday night at Tampa’s Amalie Arena.
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