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Kucherov leads Lightning over Panthers in Thomas' debut

The Canadian Press

9/26/2013 11:11:06 PM

ESTERO, Fla. -- Nikita Kucherov's goal at 4:04 of overtime gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 preseason win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Tim Thomas, signed to a one-year deal by the Panthers on Thursday, started the game and stopped nine of 10 shots. Jacob Markstrom replaced Thomas and stopped 13 of 15.

"I think it was a necessary step to do it now rather than waiting," Thomas said. "I feel ready now."

Kucherov's goal capped a rally from a 2-0 deficit for Tampa Bay.

Tyler Johnson and Richard Panik also scored for the Lightning.

Panik and Martin St. Louis exchanged great passes on the game-tying goal at 6:30 of the third period.

Florida took a 2-0 lead on two power-play goals by Jonathan Huberdeau.

Ben Bishop earned the victory and made 26 saves for Tampa Bay.