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Panthers ruin home opener for slumping Tampa

Oct 18, 2011 - 4:16 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss scored twice and had two assists, while Brian Campbell added four assists as the Florida Panthers defeated the Lightning, 7-4, in the home opener for Tampa Bay.

Tomas Kopecky, Sean Bergenheim and Jason Garrison also tallied for the Panthers, who swept the home-and-home against the Lightning.

Five of the Panthers' seven goals came on the power play where they went 5- of-9. They also added a short-handed goal.

Jose Theodore stopped 35-of-39 shots for Florida.

"I just felt that it was a really good, quality effort from all around," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said. "Obviously, the power play had a really good night."

Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos netted the goals for Tampa Bay, which lost its fifth straight.

Dwayne Roloson struggled in net for the Lightning as he saved just 26-of-33 shots.

Kopecky put the Panthers on the board first six minutes into the opening period with a power-play goal. He rifled a hard wrister from the right point, which was deflected off the stick of Tampa Bay's defenseman Eric Brewer and past Roloson.

The Lightning answered just a few minutes later with a power-play goal of their own. Ryan Shannon controlled the puck at the left point and dumped it to Purcell down low, left of the cage. He attempted to feed Brett Connolly in the slot, but Florida's Campbell tried to steal the pass and it wound up deflecting off Campbell's stick and into the net.

Tampa Bay took its first lead 14 minutes into the first period when Hedman laced a one-timer from the high slot past Theodore to make it a 2-1 game.

The Panthers tied the contest late in the first period with another power-play goal. Weiss snapped a shot from the right circle, which flew past Roloson's left shoulder.

Florida took the lead 2:35 into the second on its third power-play goal. Versteeg one-timed a shot past Roloson from the right circle off a nice cross-ice pass from Weiss.

Bergenheim poked the puck away from Marc Andre-Bergeron, raced down the ice on a breakaway and finished with a top-shelf backhand for a short-handed goal 12:17 into the second period to give the Panthers a two-goal lead.

Lecavalier pulled the Lightning within one with a wrister from the left circle with 3:39 left in the second period.

Versteeg put the Panthers in front 5-3, 25 seconds into the third period with Florida's fourth power-play goal. He lifted a wrist shot past Roloson's glove from the right circle.

Stamkos made it a 5-4 game 10:53 into the second when he one-timed a shot from the left point off a cross-ice pass from Matt Gilroy.

Weiss picked up his second goal of the game with a wrister from the high slot to once again give the Panthers a two-goal lead, this time with just 4:32 to go in the game.

Garrison added another power-play goal for Florida as he beat Roloson through the five-hole on a slap shot from the right point with 3:18 to play.

"We have got to be way more disciplined than that," Stamkos said about the penalties. "Our team is known for hard-work play and discipline. Our last couple games haven't shown that and it's hurting us."

Game Notes

The Panthers stay on the road as they square off against Washington on Tuesday...Tampa Bay plays the Islanders and Sabres to finish off its three- game homestand...Bergeron had three assists in the game.