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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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