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Panthers take first place from Lightning in Atlantic Division

in Sports/Top Headlines by

First place slipped away from the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.

The Lightning, ahead by percentage points coming into the game, lost the most important game of its rivalry with the Florida Panthers Saturday night.

Playing on its second consecutive night, and its first game without defenseman Anton Stralman, the Lightning lost 5-2 to the Panthers. Tampa Bay scored first but gave up four straight goals to lose.

Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos scored for the Bolts, both on the power play.

Roberto Luongo had 33 saves for Florida.

“I could pick apart our team,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, “but they don’t deserve it. They played hard. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

The Lightning fall to second in the Atlantic Division, with seven games to play. They face Toronto Monday night.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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