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updated: 10/6/2017 8:20 PM

Steven Stamkos has key assist, Lightning beat Panthers 5-3

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  • Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) gets a hug from left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, after Point scored against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) gets a hug from left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, after Point scored against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, gets tripped up by Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson (19) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, gets tripped up by Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson (19) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo dives on the puck before Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), of Russia, can get to the rebound during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo dives on the puck before Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), of Russia, can get to the rebound during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) gets hit with a slap shot in front of Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and right wing Radim Vrbata (71), of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) gets hit with a slap shot in front of Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and right wing Radim Vrbata (71), of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), of the Czech Republic, celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie chases the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

    Florida Panthers center Derek MacKenzie chases the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
    Associated Press

 
 

TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos set up the go-ahead goal in his return from a right knee injury and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Stamkos missed the final 65 games last season with a torn meniscus in the knee, an injury that required surgery. He sent a pass from the left circle through the slot to Vladislav Namestnikov, who put Tampa Bay up 3-2 from near the post 59 seconds into the final period during a power play.

Roberto Luongo turned aside Stamkos' shot from the slot late in the second.

Ondrej Palat had two goals, and Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves.

Florida got goals from Connor Brickley Mark Pysyk and Jonathan Huberdeau, and Luongo stopped 20 shots. New Panthers Bob Boughner took the loss in his NHL coaching debut.

Kucherov extended the Tampa Bay advantage to 4-2 at 6:38 of the third.

Huberdeau cut it to 4-3 with 5 1/2 minutes to play, but Palat secured Tampa Bay's win with a late empty-netter.

Shortly after Vasilevskiy made an in-close save on Aleksander Barkov, Palat opened the scoring on a backhander at 6:33 of the first.

Point made it 2-0 25 seconds into the second.

Brickley, positioned just outside the crease, pulled Florida to 2-1 midway through the second off a nifty pass by Alex Petrovic.

The Panthers tied it at 2 on Pysyk's goal with 2:13 left in the second.

Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan, who missed 64 games last season because of a hip injury, also was in the lineup.

NOTES: Tampa Bay D Jake Dotchin, limited to one preseason game after violating an undisclosed team rule, was scratched. ... Florida RW Owen Tippett, taken 10th overall in this year's draft, didn't play. The move allows the 18-year old additional time to prepare for his NHL debut, which should come in the near future. ... There were six slashing penalties. The NHL is cracking down this season on that infraction.

UP NEXT

The teams meet again Saturday night in the Panthers' home opener.

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