'A fatal mistake': Panthers, Brunette bemoan Lightning's late Game 2 winner

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The Florida Panthers now find themselves in a 2-0 hole in their second-round series after Ross Colton and the Tampa Bay Lightning struck in the dying seconds of Thursday's Game 2.

"I loved our game. I thought we were in a great position to control the puck with 20 seconds left," Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette told reporters following the 2-1 heartbreaker, per Bally Sports. "Just didn't manage it, kind of made a fatal mistake."

Lightning star Nikita Kucherov chased down a loose puck behind Florida's net and drew two defenders below the goal line. Colton was left wide open in front of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, and Kucherov set his teammate up with a perfect pass. Colton handled the rest and roofed the game-winner with 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation.

"We've just got to get the puck out. That can't happen there," said Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen, who scored Florida's' lone goal in the contest. "It's a tough loss."

The Lightning, meanwhile, marveled at Colton's penchant for scoring goals in big moments.

"He's got that 'it' factor," captain Steven Stamkos said. "He just goes to the right areas. He's got an unbelievable shot and release. … That's the beauty of the playoffs, you never know who's going to step up and be a hero."

Colton, who also scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal against the Montreal Canadiens last season, doesn't recall burying any other memorable last-gasp tallies in his career.

"I'm not usually on the ice in the last minute," he joked, according to Bally Sports' Gabby Shirley.

He added: "Hopefully, I look calm (in these moments) because, in my mind, things are all over the place. I love the game and, when you're out there with good players, ... they kind of make me feel calm."

The Presidents' Trophy-winning Panthers have dropped their first two contests at home in the series and will have to dig themselves out of a significant hole.

"It's a roller-coaster ride that we're in," Brunette said. "The sun will come up, (we have to) wake up, and keep playing like we're playing. … A learning experience against a team that doesn't give you too many openings, and we kinda gave away one there."

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'A fatal mistake': Panthers, Brunette bemoan Lightning's late Game 2 winner
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