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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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 72 13 34 8 47
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 74 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 70 13 26 -3 39
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 74 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 65 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 64 14 17 -2 31
B. Campbell 75 3 21 2 24
B. Pirri 42 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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