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Lightning Down Panthers To Win Prospects Tournament

With both teams having a chance to lay claim to first, Bolts win 2-1.

Sunday, 09.8.2013 / 9:00 PM ET / News
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Lightning Down Panthers To Win Prospects Tournament
Sun
9/08/2013
1-2
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 0 0 0 1
Lightning 1 1 0 0 2
FLA - N. Bjugstad (4)
TBL - N. Kucherov (3), N. Kucherov (4)
  

By Anna Anderson, University of Miami

The Rookie Tournament came to an exciting finish with a battle for the tournament title between cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. Both teams played an aggressive game, but the visiting Lightning edged out the Panthers by a 2-1 final. 

Both teams hit the ice with their adrenaline pumping, and scored within a minute of each other. Panthers right winger Logan Shaw sent a pass to center Nick Bjugstad who skated to the front of the net and banged home his fourth goal (all in the last two games) six minutes in. Tampa Bay answered quickly however. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek sent a pass outside the blue line cross ice to Jake Dotchin who found a rushing Nikita Kucherov. For Kucherov, it continued his strong play over the three games and he wasn't done.

The Lightning continued to dominate in the second period. After a turnover, Kucherov and 2013 third overall pick Jonathan Drouin scoring on a beautiful give-and-go quickly in the second period giving Tampa Bay the go-ahead and eventually game-winning goal. 

Tension ran high as the rest of the second period got underway, resulting in two fights. The first fight broke out nine minutes into the period between the Bolts’ Carl Nielsen  and the Cats’ Tony Turgeon. The brawl kept the momentum with the already aggressive Lightning resulting in pentalties for Adam Erne (elbowing) and Cedric Paquette (tripping). The Cats’ were unable to capitalize on the two-man advantage and the period ended with another fight between the Bolts’ Artem Sergeev and the Cats’ Wade Megan.

The fighting wasn't done as the two teams dropped the gloves in the third period. Tampa Bay’s Brett Welychka and Florida’s Josh McFadden were both penalized for fighting, followed by a second fight between Dotchin and Florida’s Josh Brown. Florida’s offense picked up its tempo with nine shots on goal in the third but Tampa Bay’s strong defense made clean passes and clear shots a difficult task. In the end, Florida was unable to get the equalizer past Tampa Bay goalkeeper Kristers Gudlevskis. The game ended with a Lightning 2-1 victory, solidifying their crown as the Rookie Tournament Champions thanks to their 2-0-1 record (5 points). Florida which would have won the tournament with a victory, finished third overall with two points (1-2-0) while Nashville ended in second place (1-1-1, 3 points) and Boston finished tied with Florida in points (0-1-2, 2 points).

“I actually thought today was our best game," said Tampa Bay coach Rob Zettler. "Offensively, without a doubt it was our best game. And then I thought we did some really good things defensively. We didn’t give up a lot.  We killed penalties a lot better, which was nice. So overall it was really good. Drouin and Kucherov were kinda magical out there a few times too, a couple of some really nice chances and an unbelievable goal.”

Kucherov finished atop the tournament points race with seven points (4-3-7). He shared the goal-scoring lead with Bjugstad while the Florida forward (4-1-5) along with Boston's Spinell finished two points back of the Kucherov overall.

Tampa Bay shot first in the post-game five-man shoot out. Kucherov and Drouin both scored for the Lightning while Trevor Lewis scored on a beautiful deke for Florida but just like the game, the result was a 2-1 victory for Lightning.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 51 17 21 14 38
J. Jokinen 54 11 27 12 38
J. Huberdeau 54 10 28 12 38
V. Trocheck 54 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 54 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 50 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 50 10 13 20 23
B. Campbell 54 5 17 20 22
N. Bjugstad 39 9 10 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .928 2.17
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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