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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

Cats Head Home to Take On Canadiens Thursday Night

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 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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