Stamkos sits, Lightning winning streak ends with loss to Panthers


SUNRISE, Fla. — Aaron Ekblad and Alex Wennberg each had a goal and an assist, and the Florida Panthers ended the Tampa Bay Lightning’s six-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory at BB&T Center on Thursday.

The Lightning played without forward Steven Stamkos, who is day to day with a lower-body injury.

Frank Vatrano and Carter Verhaeghe scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves for the Panthers (8-1-2).

Brayden Point scored twice, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves for the Lightning (9-2-1).

This was the first of three consecutive games between the Panthers and Lightning, who will play here Saturday and at Amalie Arena on Monday.

Tampa Bay had not lost since Jan. 28, 1-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime.

Vatrano gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 8:56 of the first period.

Wennberg made it 2-0 at 8:31 of the second when he one-timed Jonathan Huberdeau‘s pass on a 2-on-1. Wennberg extended his goal streak to three games, and Huberdeau became the first player to have 300 assists for the Panthers.

Point made it 2-1 with a power-play goal at 10:55 before Ekblad answered on the power play to make it 3-1 at 12:54.

Verhaeghe, who helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup last season, extended the lead to 4-1 at 14:55 when his centering pass bounced in off the skate of Tampa Bay defenseman Erik Cernak.

Point cut it to 4-2 at 54 seconds of the third period with a second power-play goal. 

Brett Connolly scored into an empty net with 1:00 left for the 5-2 final.

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