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Panthers Pounce to 8-2 Victory Over Lightning

Tuesday, 02.28.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Panthers Pounce to 8-2 Victory Over Lightning

Jokinen & Nieuwendyk Tally Three Points Each

The Florida Panthers started their drive for the postseason in grand fashion.

Chris Gratton, Olli Jokinen and Joe Nieuwendyk each had two goals to help the Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-2 on Tuesday night.

Florida is eight points behind eighth-place Montreal in the Eastern Conference.

"It was amazing," Jokinen said. "Everything went our way, but I think the main thing was the focus right there when the puck dropped, and we didn't change anything."

Nieuwendyk and Jokinen also had an assist for three-point games. Martin Gelinas and Joel Kwiatkowski had the other Florida goals, while Roberto Luongo made 32 saves.

Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Craig scored for Tampa Bay. John Grahame was pulled at 3:35 of the second after allowing four goals on 13 shots.

"It happens," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We're mature enough to handle to that. Just look to the next game."

Tampa Bay went 11-3-1 over its last 15 games before the Olympic break. Florida was 6-6-3 over the same stretch.

"We needed to get off to a good start, and that's as good as it gets," Nieuwendyk said. "But just like we put the losses behind us, we've got to put this behind us too. We've got to get ready for a tough game against Montreal (on Thursday)."

Jokinen put the Panthers ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal 26 seconds into the game. He has five goals and seven points in four games against the Lightning this season.

Tampa Bay, aided by three straight power plays, had 10 of the next 11 shots. Luongo made consecutive in-close saves on Craig.

The Panthers went up 2-0 when Gratton redirected Mike Van Ryn's shot on the power play at 13:47. Gratton has six goals and 12 points during a five-game point streak.

Florida had only one shot during a 5-on-3 power play that ended a minute into the second. The Panthers, however, took a 4-0 lead on goals 28 seconds apart by Gelinas (3:17) and Nieuwendyk (3:45).

Gratton scored his second power-play goal of the game at 12:23. Nieuwendyk added his second goal 34 seconds later before Jokinen scored again to make it 7-0 at 14:48.

"It was nice to get good support," Luongo said. "You know, 7-0 in the second period. I had to check the clock to make sure it was right."

Nieuwendyk has 550 goals, including 17 this season.

Lecavalier had a power-play goal at 5:57 of the third. After Kwiatkowski scored at 15:59, Criag ended the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:32 left.

"We were just awful," Tampa Bay's Brad Richards said.

Notes: Gratton and Tampa Bay's Evgeny Artyukhin both received five-minute penalties following a fight midway through the third. ... Tampa Bay's Darryl Sydor became the 205th player and 73rd defenseman to play in 1,000 NHL games. ... Luongo has played in 28 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 10. ... Richards had an assist, extending his point streak to seven games. He has 10 assists and 13 points during the span.

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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