In front of a Bolts sellout crowd of 19,204, the Lightning had an impressive home opener beating cross-state and division rivals, the Florida Panthers in a 7-2 win. The game, which saw not only their new captain opening the scoring, but Steven Stamkos snapping his three-game scoring skid with a hat trick.

The scoring was opened with Martin St. Louis scoring at 8:13 to set off the Tesla coils and bring Lightning fans to their feet. The new captain was assisted by alternate captain Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell, who got his first point of the 2013-2014 season. With Richard Panik in the box for high-sticking, Panthers fans were hopeful that they were going to tie up the score before the period was over, but instead Steven Stamkos scored a short-handed goal, scoring his first of the season with the help of St. Louis and Victor Hedman. 2-0 Tampa Bay at the end of the first.

A bounce off the boards and a tie up around the net led to Brad Boyes putting the Panthers on the board 0:59 seconds into the middle frame. The power play goal was Boyes second goal of the season, he was assisted by Brian Campbell and Thomas Fleischman. With the lead cut in half, tensions were on high as the team’s fighter, BJ Crombeen dropped the gloves against the twenty-one year old Eric Gudbranson. Both received five minutes for fighting. At 11:39 Steven Stamkos got his second of the night with assists from alternate captain Matt Carle and Ryan Malone. Four minutes lataer, Ondrej Palat netted his first of the season, giving Alex Killorn his first assist of the season. A surprise second assist went to goalie Ben Bishop.

Once again, the Panthers opened period scoring at 3:48 in the third with a goal by the young Jonathan Huberdeau, his first of the season with Scott Gomez and Kris Versteeg both getting their first assists of the season. The next two goals came by newest member of the team, and fast crowd favourite, Valtteri Filppula. at 6:38 and 9:14 the Finn shot a wrister and a backhander against Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom. The fans were fired up with the 6-2 lead, so when Steven Stamkos hit the back of the net for the third time of the night the Forum could of easily been the loudest house in the NHL.

It the was Markham, Ontario native’s sixth career hat trick, and first with three different types of goals. Stamkos scored a short-handed, power-play, and even-strength. This was only trumped by Mario Lemieux’s addition of a penalty shot and open-net goal scored on December 21, 1988. Stamkos ended the night with four points!

Fans had a tough time choosing their three stars out of the team’s five game stars including Teddy Purcell with three assists and a +2 rating on the night and Alex Killorn with 2 assists and two shots on the night.

THREE STARS OF THE GAME
Steven Stamkos

1ST
G: 3 Shots: 4
A: 1 Hits: 4
PTS: 4 PIM: 0
+/-: 3 TOI: 18:23
Valtteri Filppula

2ND
G: 2 Shots: 3
A: 0 Hits: 1
PTS: 2 PIM: 0
+/-: 1 TOI: 20:52
Martin St Louis

3RD
G: 1 Shots: 4
A: 1 Hits: 0
PTS: 2 PIM: 0
+/-: 3 TOI: 21:28

 

1ST PERIOD
08:13 TBL M. St Louis (2) Wrist shot – ASST: S. Stamkos (3), T. Purcell (1) 1 – 0 TBL
13:54 TBL SHG – S. Stamkos (1) Tip-in – ASST: M. St Louis (3), V. Hedman (2) 2 – 0 TBL
2ND PERIOD
00:59 FLA PPG – B. Boyes (2) Wrist shot – ASST: B. Campbell (4), T. Fleischmann (2) 2 – 1 TBL
11:39 TBL S. Stamkos (2) Wrist shot – ASST: M. Carle (2), R. Malone (2) 3 – 1 TBL
15:51 TBL O. Palat (1) Slapshot – ASST: A. Killorn (2), B. Bishop (1) 4 – 1 TBL
3RD PERIOD
03:48 FLA J. Huberdeau (1) Wrist shot – ASST: S. Gomez (1), K. Versteeg (1) 4 – 2 TBL
06:38 TBL PPG – V. Filppula (2) Wrist shot – ASST: M. Carle (3), A. Killorn (3) 5 – 2 TBL
09:14 TBL V. Filppula (3) Backhand shot – ASST: T. Purcell (2), S. Salo (1) 6 – 2 TBL
12:25 TBL PPG – S. Stamkos (3) Slapshot – ASST: S. Salo (2), T. Purcell (3)

The Panthers play the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday, October 11th at 1930 hrs (7:30 PM) on FoxSports South, Root, GCL, and Centre Ice. This will be the team’s season opener.

The Panthers are hoping to end their three game losing streak in their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, October 11th. With only 225 tickets remaining for the game, the Panthers are hoping to have a sell-out.

Pittsburgh then moves on to Tampa on Saturday, October 12th at 1900 hrs (7PM) on SunSport, Root, GCL, and Centre Ice

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