Tampa Bay Lightning Win Season Opener in Overtime


Oct 9, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) passes the ball to center Tyler Johnson (not pictured) for an assist against the Florida Panthers during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are off and running.

Defenseman Victor Hedman’s power play goal 1:11 into overtime gave the Lightning a 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers in their regular season opener Thursday night.

Hedman took a pass from goaltender Ben Bishop down the left side boards as the Panthers (0-0-1) were changing and skated in on a breakaway before unleashing a wrister that beat Roberto Luongo blocker side.

The Lightning (1-0-0) opened the overtime period on the power play as Scottie Upshall took a goalie interference penalty as time expired in regulation.

Hedman also had an assist on the Lightning’s second goal while Bishop made 19 saves for the Bolts. Valtteri Filppula had two helpers for Tampa Bay.

The game headed to overtime after Jonathan Huberdeau scored at the 9:16 mark of the third period to tie the game at 2-2. Only 1:59 earlier, Tampa Bay had taken the lead courtesy of a Ryan Callahan power play goal as he tapped in a loose puck in the crease after Luongo couldn’t hold on to Filppula’s initial shot.

After a scoreless first period, Erik Gudbranson gave Florida a 1-0 lead 5:03 into the second with a slap shot from the blue line. The Bolts tied it 2:09 later on the power play as Tyler Johnson scored on a one timer from a beautiful cross-ice feed from Filppula.

The Lightning outshot Florida 32-21 and went 3-for-7 with the extra man. The Lightning killed off each of Florida’s two power play chances.

It was a chippy affair as both teams combined for 49 hits and 30 penalty minutes. There were multiple skirmishes after whistles although the gloves were never dropped. Lightning d-man Radko Gudas could be facing a suspension as his hit on Upshall in the second period was to the head area although no penalty was called.

The Lightning are in action again Saturday when they host the Ottawa Senators at the Amalie Arena.