Florida Panthers win home opener 5-4

The Florida Panthers came out fast and furious on their home ice outshooting the Lightning 23-8. However the stat that matters most is the score, and Florida went into the locker room after one period down 2-1. Tampa Bay got two goals on only eight shots, Florida’s lone goal was by Evgenii Dadonov which came on the power play. The Panthers finished 1 of 4 on the power play in the game

In the second period the teams traded goals and again the Panthers were more aggressive, outshooting Tampa Bay 16-7. Nick Bjustad picked up his first of the year on a top-shelf wrist shot to tie the score at two, however Brayden Point gave the Lightning the lead again later in the period.

Things got much more exciting for the Panthers home crowd in the third. Colton Sceviour and Jared McCann notched goals less than a minute apart to give Florida a 4-3 lead. McCann’s goal was originally disallowed but after official review it was held up. The Cats continues to pour it on as Vincent Trocheck buried a rebound for their fifth goal. Florida erupted for three goals in under 2:30 to set the home crowd into a frenzy. Tyler Johnson closed the gap to 5-4 but Florida was able to hold on. Tampa Bay had five power plays in the final period and six overall. They ended the game six on four after pulling goalie Andrei Vasilevakiy and a delay of game penalty by Sceviour. Florida ended with 48 shots on goals and Panthers goalie James Reimer stopped 26 of 30 shots. 

Reimer will likely see a lot of starts this year, especially on the second night of back-to-back games. He was solid last year and actually led the team in wins with 18. The Panthers will have a few days off to prepare for the St. Louis Blues who visit the BB&T Center on Thursday Oct. 12th.

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