Lightning 3, Panthers 2

Another tough home loss for Florida Panthers

 

Despite dominating most of the night, the Panthers fall to opportunistic Lightning.

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

Even though the Panthers’ scoreboard Tuesday was malfunctioning to the point the team’s president took to Twitter to apologize, the lopsided numbers in Florida’s favor were correct.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the actual score was right as well — and it went against them. That’s how this dreadful season has gone.

Even though Florida dominated the visiting Lightning for much of the night, Tampa Bay’s star forwards came through with opportunistic goals to leave BB&T Center with a 3-2 victory against the NHL’s last-place Panthers.

The Panthers ended up with a 39-13 advantage on the shot clock yet have lost 14 of the past 17.

“For the last two weeks, you’re really beating up on your guys,” coach Kevin Dineen lamented. “[Tuesday] is no different. Our fans go home unhappy, our players are upset as well. Snakebit? I don’t know. But things aren’t working in a positive way for us right now.”

Despite being grossly outshot (30-6 after two), Tampa Bay got quality in what few snipes it took.

Vinny Lecavalier scored on the Lightning’s opening shot with Martin St. Louis scoring on No. 3. Steven Stamkos got the game-winner on Tampa’s eighth shot of the night — which didn’t come until 5:30 into the third. In the first period, Florida outshot the Lightning 17-3 yet trailed 2-0.

“You get St. Louis, Stamkos and Lecavalier scoring,” Dineen said, “and that’s a pretty good formula they have there.”

The worst news out of Tuesday could come in the following days when Kris Vertseeg’s right knee is evaluated.

Versteeg — who scored Florida’s first goal 13 ticks into the second — went sprawling after making contact with Radko Gudas and stayed on the ice in pain for a few minutes before being helped into the locker room.

“Sometimes when it rains it pours,” Jack Skille said. “That’s the nature of the game. You have to battle through it.”

Florida found itself down first for the eighth time in 10 games as rookie goalie Jacob Markstrom has surrendered a goal on the first official shot of the game in three of the past four. Montreal scored on its third shot Sunday.

The Lightning made it 1-0 on the opening shot when Lecavalier scored off a feed from St. Louis. About 16 minutes later, St. Louis made it 2-0 on the Lightning’s third shot. Florida was ahead 16-3 in shots at that point.

Vertseeg got the Panthers on the working scoreboard by knocking a Marcel Goc delivery through just as the second started. Ten minutes later, Tomas Kopecky tied the score with his 11th of the season by knocking a Jack Skille pass between Lindback’s skates.

Yet the Lightning got one power play chance in the third and buried it when Stamkos fired off an odd-angled shot from that hit Markstrom’s stick and ricocheted between his skates and into the net.

The Lightning, which had lost seven of eight, is 3-0 against the Panthers this year with two left in Tampa.

“We had maybe two minutes when we took off and it’s a good league. It bites you,” Kopecky said. “I like the way we battled. It was something we were missing the past few games. But sometimes it’s a tough one.”

Timmins arrested

Panthers prospect/minor league forward Scott Timmins was arrested and charged with criminal trespass — a misdemeanor —- Sunday morning in San Antonio after allegedly being found inside a house he did not own.

Timmins told police he had been drinking with teammates at a nearby bar after being discovered in the home of Benjamin Garza whose unidentified wife heard the family dogs barking at 3:30 a.m. Timmins, she said, was on the couch.

The woman escaped the home with her two children and called her husband — who wasn’t home at the time — and the police. When the police arrived, Timmins was asleep on the couch and needed help out of the house.

According to the San Antonio Express, Timmins — who has played in 14 games with the Panthers over the past three seasons — lives about a mile away from the house he was found in.

Benjamin Garza told KENS-5 in San Antonio that when he came home, he told Timmins he was lucky it was his wife who found him on the couch. “I would’ve put a bullet between your eyes and it would’ve been over for you,” Garza reportedly said.

Panthers assistant general manager Mike Santos, who serves as GM of Florida’s AHL team in San Antonio, said the Panthers were still gathering “more information” on the situation.

Santos, who said Timmins practiced with the Rampage on Tuesday, added whether Timmins played Wednesday was up to coach Chuck Weber.

“I’ve talked to Scott. He’s OK,”’ Santos said. “We’re just going to let the process go … I’m sure he’s embarrassed, but at this point I don’t have any more information than you do.”

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