In front of a packed Sheffield Arena, the Steelers had enjoyed the better of an absorbing first period, deservedly going ahead on the power play through a Tim Wallace rocket from just inside the blue line at just 4.26.
A relatively even first period followed, with the Steelers enjoying more possession without creating as many clear-cut chances as they would have liked.
They were made to pay for that before the end of the period through an audacious piece of skill from former Steelers forward Robert Farmer who, left alone in front of Ervins Mustukovs, back-flicked the puck through his legs before turning and flicking it over the home side's netminder.
It got worse for the Steelers less than a minute into the second period when Yann Sauve made the Steelers pay for failing to clear their lines, finding himself all alone at the back post to slot the puck past Mustukovs. More misery was to follow less than four minutes later when Tim Billingsley's made it 3-1.
Zack Fitzgerald and Mathieu Gagnon were handing fie-minute fighting majors in the 29th minute, with the Panthers player seemingly coming off the worse when he was escorted off the ice dripping blood.
But Steelers' best spell of the period got its just rewards when a Ben O'Connor effort was blocked, allowing the puck to drop kindly for Marquardt who quickly adjusted to fire past Michael Garnett at 37.34 to give the Steelers' fans hope going into the third.