The Tampa Bay Lightning now sit at 32-16-2 on the season after suffering back-to-back losses. Monday, the Lightning travelled to play the Florida Panthers in a rivalry matchup. Tuesday, they returned home to face the struggling San Jose Sharks.
Lightning vs. Panthers
Tampa entered this matchup as winners of their previous two against the Panthers this season and were looking to make it three in a row. Florida, on the other hand, was looking to start the second half of the season strong with a victory against their in-state rivals.
The game was close early, with the Panthers leading 1-0 after the first period thanks to a goal by winger Carter Verhaeghe. This was first of Verhaeghe’s two goals of the night.
After taking that lead, Florida never looked back. Anchored by a three-goal second period, the Panthers took control of the game and led Tampa 4-1 heading into the third.
Florida’s two centers Sam Bennett and Eetu Luostarinen, as well as winger Matthew Tkachuk, each netted goals in the second for Florida.
Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored the lone-goal for the visitors. It was Kucherov’s 20th goal of the season.
The third period brought more of the same for the Panthers. Florida poured in another three goals thanks to Tkachuk and Verhaeghe’s second goals of the night, respectively. Center Eric Stall also contributed a goal en route to their 7-1 victory.
Tkachuk tied his career high in points with five, recording three assists to go along with his two goals on the night. This performance elevated him to second in the league in points with 71, trailing only Sam Reinhart’s 82.
#FlaPanthers Matthew Tkachuk matched his career highs with five points (2-3-5) and a +5 rating tonight vs TBL.
His 71 points (27-44-71 in 50GP) are second only to Sam Reinhart’s 82 points in 2021-22 for most by a FLA skater in their first season with the team. pic.twitter.com/xGIdlahrEq
— Florida Panthers PR (@FlaPanthersPR) February 7, 2023
The Panthers improved to record to 25-22-6 with the win.
Lightning vs. Sharks
The next day, Tampa returned to the ice to take on the San Jose Sharks at home with hopes of bouncing back from their blowout loss to the Panthers.
The Lightning got off to a scorching start, scoring three goals in the first half alone.
Lightning center Ross Colton scored the initial goal of the game to put Tampa up 1-0. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson tied the game up with a power-play goal moments later, however.
Tampa center Braydon Point, though, was able to give his team the juice they needed, netting the next two goals to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead after the first.
This guy makes it look easy pic.twitter.com/U4Ytk42678
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 8, 2023
The second period was back-and-forth, with both teams ramping up the intensity on the defensive end. The lone-goal of the period was scored by San Jose winger Timo Meier to cut the Sharks deficit to one heading into the third.
Early in the third period, the Sharks were able to tie the game on a deflection goal from winger Jonah Gadjovich. The 3-3 tie held up until the end of regulation, and the game entered overtime.
In the overtime period, Meier scored his second goal of the game, as he buried one-timer to give the Sharks the victory.
⏰ TIMO TIME IN OVERTIME!! ⏰#SJSharks | @MeierTimo pic.twitter.com/iiyZnFlxUI
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) February 8, 2023
San Jose improved to 16-25-11 with the win.
Following the back-to-back losses, Tampa will be looking to pick up their first post-all-star-break win Thursday night when they play the Colorado Avalanche at 7.
The Lightning currently sit at third place in the Atlantic division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.