Lomberg scores in OT to lift Panthers past Lightning, 6-5

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Lomberg scored on a breakaway 5:56 into overtime to cap a furious comeback and give the Florida Panthers a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Game 3 of the first-round Central Division playoff matchup.

The Panthers cut the Lightning's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series by scoring twice in the third period, killing off a penalty at the start overtime and winning it.

Radko Gudas gained possession off a faceoff deep in his own zone and flicked the puck ahead to Lomberg, who barreled in on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Lightning took a 5-3 lead into the final period. But the reigning Stanley Cup champions couldn't put the Panthers away, yielding a power-play goal to Patric Hornqvist early in the third and Gustav Forsling's equalizer with 3:07 remaining.

Game 4 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Braden Point’s power-play goal in the second period snapped a 3-3 tie less than two minutes after Alex Wennberg scored on the power play for the Panthers, who led 2-0 after Sam Bennett and Gudas solved Vasilevskiy in the first 7:05 of the opening period.

Once the Lightning got started, it didn’t take long to erase their early deficit.

Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton and Steven Stamkos scored in the first nine minutes of the second period. Alex Killorn added a power-play goal four minutes after Point put Tampa Bay ahead 4-3 off a feed from Nikita Kucherov.

Two nights after stopping 32 of 33 shots to win Game 2 on the road, Vasilevskiy finished with 41 saves in Tampa Bay’s first home playoff game in more than two years. The Lightning had been 28-0-0 when leading after two periods this season, including the playoffs.

Goalie Chris Driedger made his second career postseason start for Florida. Sergei Bobrovsky, a 5-4 loser in Game 1, replaced him at the start of the third period and stopped all nine shots he faced to get the victory.

BENNETT'S RETURN

Bennett was back in the lineup for Florida after serving a one-game suspension for a boarding penalty in the series opener. His goal less than five minutes into the opening period gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Gudas made it a two-goal lead at 7:05 of the first. Jonathan Huberdeau assisted on both goals and also had an assist on Hornqvist's goal that trimmed Florida's deficit to 5-4.

NICE TO BE HOME

The Lightning played a playoff game at home for the first time since April 12, 2019, vs. Columbus. After initialing announcing capacity for postseason games at Amalie Arena would be capped at 7,000, the team increased it to 9,000.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Fred Goodall, The Associated Press

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