Lightning top Panthers 3-2 in OT
``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.
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.