Ryan Lomberg’s overtime goal gives Panthers life in series with Lightning

When the Florida Panthers entered the third period of Game 3 of their First Round series on Thursday night, they were 20 minutes away from facing what would have almost certainly been an insurmountable deficit in the series.

They were already down 2-0 in the series, trailed the game by two goals, and were being overwhelmed by a Tampa Bay Lightning team that scored five goals in the second period, chasing starting goalie Chris Driedger from the game.

But thanks to three consecutive goals from the Panthers, including Ryan Lomberg‘s overtime winner, they were able to pick up a 6-5 win and get on the board in their series and close the deficit to 2-1 with Game 4 looming on Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET, CNBC).

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Patric Hornqvist started the comeback for Florida with a power play goal just two minutes into the third period to bring the Panthers to within a single goal.

With under four minutes to play, defenseman Gustav Forsling tied the game to send it to overtime to set the stage for Lomberg’s winner. You can see that goal in the video above.

He is definitely an unlikely hero for the Panthers given that he entered Thursday’s game with just two goals in 45 career NHL games. But sometimes you need an unlikely hero to step up come playoff time to get your team a chance.

This was a game of some wild momentum swings as the Panthers controlled the start of the game by scoring a pair of early goals to take a 2-0 lead, including one from Sam Bennett in his return from a Game 2 suspension. The Lightning responded by scoring five goals in the second period to seemingly regain control. But the Panthers, with Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the final 20 minutes of regulation and overtime, were able to storm back for the win.

This has been a much closer series than the Lightning’s 2-0 edge may have indicated going into Thursday, and now the Panthers have something to show for it.

SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 1Lightning 5, Panthers 4
Game 2Lightning 3, Panthers 1
Thursday, May 20: Panthers 6, Lightning 5 (OT)
Saturday, May 22: Panthers at Lightning, 12:30 p.m. ET (CNBC)
*Monday, May 24: Lightning at Panthers TBD
*Wednesday, May 26: Panthers at Lightning TBD
*Friday, May 28: Lightning at Panthers TBD

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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