Jacksonville Sports Day

NHL: Stamkos, Perry Lead Tampa Bay Lightning Past Florida Panthers, 6-2

Photo by Nancy Beecher/SportsWire

TAMPA (SportsTicker) – It’s might be the NHL preseason. But the rivalry between Tampa Bay and Florida is in full tilt.

On Tuesday the Panthers bested the ‘Bolts in Orlando, 3-2. Thursday night Tampa Bay bounced back against their down state nemesis with a 6-2 victory.

Tampa Bay handed Florida (5-1-0) its first loss of the preseason. The Lightning improve to 2-4-0 this preseason.

“I thought they had a better lineup, and the power play opened the game wide open,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had a couple careless changes. Maybe it was going to be closer at some point in the third, but you give them a 5-on-3 and then you’re basically chasing.”

Corey Perry and Peter Stamkos each scored twice for the Lightning. Perry has four goals this preseason to pace the Lightning.

Both of Stamkos’ goals came on power plays. It was his first goal of the preseason.

Joe Thornton and Owen Tippett tallied for the visitors.

“It felt good,” Thornton said of his first game in a Florida uniform. “It was nice to get in a game. I haven’t been skating too much lately, so it was nice to get in there and compete with the guys.”

Anthony Cirreli opened the scoring for Tampa Bay. Cirelli scored on a breakaway 3:25 into the second period to open the game’s scoring and put the Lightning in front 1-0.

Pat Maroon capped the night’s scoring by finishing a 2-on-1 with 1:12 to go for the 6-2 final in favor of the Lightning.

The Lightning led 3-1 going into the final period.

Lightning netminder Brian Elliott played a full game and stopped 20-of-23 shots to earn the win, his first as a member of the Bolts.

The Lightning were 2 for 4 on the power play. The Panthers 0-3. Tampa Bay outshot Florida 26-23. Perry paced the Lightning with five shots.

The Lightning conclude the preseason against the Panthers Saturday, Oct. 9 at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise (6 p.m. puck drop). That contest will be the final of three straight versus the Panthers to finish off the 2021 preseason.

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