After losing their last game 2-1 against Tampa, Florida wanted to make sure they didn't get the Lightning a chance in this game tonight. Although a small crack appeared in the 2nd, the Panthers turned it up and crushed the Bolts 10-5. Tampa took the early lead before Messier would score his 30th, then Hawerchuk his 30th on the PP. Florida would take the lead into the 2nd period 2-1, with a 14-6 edge on shots. 

Tampa came out strong in the 2nd though scoring three goals in a row to get the lead to 4-2. Then the Panthers kicked it in. Bradley scored his 19th at the 4 minute mark, and 2 minutes later his 20th to get the game tied. Tampa would respond to take the lead and send Roy to the showers but the offense didn't stop. Thelven scored his 15th at 12:13 and only 3 seconds later Messier his 31st to take the lead. Dahlin would add his 23rd on the PP then Kravchuk his 3rd to end the scoring. After two periods the score was 8-5 for the Panthers. They only won the shot clock 14-12 in the second. 

The 3rd period was a complete shutdown though. They outshot the Bolts 20-5 in the 3rd and added goals from Recchi(25th) and Messier(32nd) to complete his hat trick. That would end the scoring for a 10-5 victory, much different then the 2-1 previous game. 

Rick Wamsley got the win making all 8 saves moving to 11-15-2 on the season. 

Special teams on the night was a +5. The PK was perfect in 1 chance against, with the PP unit going 5-7. 

1st Star - Mark Messier - 3 goals, 5 points, + 1, 6 shots

2nd Star - Brian Bradley - 2 goals, 4 points, +2, 5 shots

3rd Star - Michael Thelven - 1 goal, 4 points, +1, 4 shots


With first place on the line in the Wales, Houston laid an egg losing to Atlanta 2-1. Hedberg took the loss with Dackell scoring his 26th. They remain tied with Laval for top spot. 

Bubba Smith Sr.
Panthers Press