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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 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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