Given the Lightning, in seven games since the Olympic break, had squandered eight leads while going 1-4-2, the ending to Thursday night's matchup with the Panthers was, as coach Jon Cooper said, "a little uncomfortable."

In the end, though, all that mattered to the Lightning was a 5-4 victory at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, not the two goals Tampa Bay allowed in 39 seconds that cut its lead to one with 26.5 seconds left in the third period.

"You don't read too much into that," right wing Ryan Callahan said. "You don't want to give them up. But when you're struggling to get some wins, those things happen. But we get the two points, and for the most part we played good hockey."

The two points were huge for the Lightning (35-24-7), which entered the game just four points from falling out of a playoff spot and losers of five straight.

Steven Stamkos' first goal in four games since returning from a broken right tibia, a one-timer from the left faceoff circle on the power play, was the winner as it provide a 5-2 third-period edge.

Callahan got his first goal in four games since coming from the Rangers in the Marty St. Louis deal, a redirect that resulted from the right wing charging hard to the net.

Sami Salo, Mike Kostka and Tyler Johnson also scored. Valtteri Filppula earned his "Filthy Mitts" nickname with three assists. And Ben Bishop, though not at his best, got his 30th win with 23 saves.

The team also was good on faceoffs, winning 59 percent, and generally managed the puck well and got it deep into the offensive zone.