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CATS GET ANOTHER ONE: Panthers On First Three-game Winning Streak After 3-2 Shootout Win in Tampa


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

TAMPA -- Panthers general manager Dale Tallon wasn't at Tuesday's game. Instead, he stayed behind in South Florida as the NHL's trade deadline fast approaches.

Tallon recently said he doesn't expect to make too many moves as the deadline hits at 3 p.m. on Wednesday for a number of reasons. One of which is there are players here he likes, players who have made the Panthers respectable again these past few weeks.

On Tuesday, the Panthers kept their modest winning ways going as they earned their first three-game winning streak of the 2013 season by beating the host Lightning 3-2 in a shootout at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Florida's past three wins have all come in overtime as the Panthers have improved to 4-6 in the extra sessions. Two of the three wins have come in shootouts.

"We will take it. It's all baby steps,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "You build on little things and it had nothing to do with the coaches. You can see the players have enjoyed this little bit of success we've had. It makes things better. It's enjoyable coming to the rink every day.''

The Lightning lead the league in third-period goals as it has scored 51 of its 111 goals in the final 20 as Tampa Bay bounced back from a 2-0 deficit by scoring twice in the third.

Rookie goalie Jacob Markstrom turned in another spectacular effort as he away 27 shots before the high-scoring Lightning got on the board.

The Lightning ended up taking 41 shots on Markstrom -- not including the three he stopped in the shootout.

"We knew they were going to come hard. Down 2-0, they didn't have much of a choice,'' said Markstrom, who made four stops in overtime and who has given up just 14 goals in his past seven starts.

Florida, not surprisingly, is 5-2-0 during that stretch.

"I'm just trying to work hard and I'm getting a lot of help from my defense. They are blocking a lot of shots. We are winning and that is nice. But there are things we can improve on.''

The Panthers held a 2-0 lead going into the third thanks to a pair of power play goals from Tomas Kopecky and Greg Rallo -- scores facilitated by long shots from defenseman T.J. Brennan.

Tampa Bay scored two goals on three shots during the third with Tom Pyatt charging in on Markstrom and deflecting a Teddy Purcell shot through 5:38 into the period. Later, Adam Killorn worked a rebound past Markstrom.

In the shootout, Peter Mueller scored on Florida's first attempt. Markstrom did the rest.

"Markstrom was the difference maker to me,'' Dineen said. "He was the player of the game in my mind. They had some real quality opportunities. Shots can be deceptive sometimes. This wasn't one of them. Markstrom made some great saves.''


Brennan celebrated both of Florida's goals as he was credited with both when they happened -- only to have them taken away.

Game officials atop the arena reviewed the play during the respective intermission and ruled Kopecky and Rallo got a piece of the puck before it went in. Brennan was awarded the first assist on both -- as he should have been.

Rallo's goal goes down as his first in NHL play.

"It's all right. We'll take the goals because it doesn't matter who is getting them,'' said Brennan, who scored in his first game with the Panthers on March 16 after being acquired in a deal with Buffalo. "I'm just trying to get pucks to the net, create some offense. We're just keeping it simple.''

-- Drew Shore missed Tuesday's game with a undisclosed injury, although Dineen said it wasn't very serious and he expected Shore back in the lineup Saturday.

Greg Rallo was brought up from AHL San Antonio and played on Florida's fourth line Tuesday.

-- For the first time in over a month, the Panthers have time off for rest and practice. Florida, which played 16 games in March, play just twice this week with the next game Saturday against Washington.

The Panthers plan to practice Wednesday in Coral Springs before taking Thursday off.

"This might be our first three day break all year,'' Dineen said. "Where was this in February?"

-- Center Mike Santorelli was placed on waivers but played Tuesday.


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We missed Drew Shore tonite as his DEFENSIVE skills and faceoff talent would have helped.Markstrom is really improving rapidly and he has really worked on keeping his high glove hand up.That was a nice stop on Stamkos in the shootout.The character of this team is beginning to take shape but we still are a little weak with Kuba and Kulikov.I thought Santorelli relly hustled all nite and I hope we hold on to him.Putting him on waivers would mean a saving of 3 milion bucks if he is claimed next year but dont hold your breath.The savings could be given to Weiss and Mueller.Both are keepers in my opinion.More to be revealed..

Is anyone thinking that their winning ways of late is bittersweet? It's nice for them to win, but they're going to miss the playoffs AND jeopardize their chance of obtaining the #1 pick in the NHL entry draft.

I hope Colorado and Tampa Bay keep winning (at least for the next month).

EJ Player and coaches don't think about how bad it is to win, losers do.

Hey, Dale, you've only got until 3pm to get rid of Kulikov. Think of it; fewer turnovers, fewer penalties, fewer pucks kicked into our own net. He's the reincarnation of Joe Cirella.. and everyone remembers how "good" he was.

Takes longer for young skilled defensemen to develop, trading away Kulikov would be stupid...Teams would line up to take him off our hands. Blaming one defensemen for this years train wreck is the mentalilty of Panther fans--pick on one guy and make him the scapegoat. I think Tallon is much smarter and knows more about hockey. I guarantee he will be still with the Panthers at 3.

Kulikov needs time to develop and if we get rid of him now it would be a waste of the time they have put into him. He is a young kid and it is well documented that d-men takes longer to develop.
The question is really; do you think we are better of without him? Who is the replacement going to be and will it be an upgrade? He has a lot of offensive talent and you just don't trade that away. It is very hard to find.
I don't have the answer but replacing every player who makes mistakes I don't think is a good solution either....

would love to get rid of Campbell but no one is going to take on that contract for a power play specialist. His points suck even strength and is a total train wreck on defense, just look at his +/-

How good was Markstrom last night, WOW. Love the way this team is playing, even if it does cost them the Top pick, I'm fine with a Top 3 pick anyways.

Good to see, keep up the hard work boyz.

And litespeed, I think Santorelli is a UFA this summer anyways...so it doesn't really matter.

way yo go DT, another great trade deadline day. I know I can hear it now, Bugtstead was what we got.

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