Tampa Bay

Game Recap

Panthers Continue Playoff Push

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Florida Panthers

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Panthers Continue Playoff Push
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Florida Panthers 4
Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun, of Czech Republic, covers the net as Tampa Bay Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier tries to score during the third period of a hockey game Saturday March 22, 2008 in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Rick Silva)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
It wasn’t pretty.
The Panthers were outshot at one point 32-10, were short-handed for eight minutes in the second period, and went seven minutes at one point without a shot on goal.
“It wasn’t our best game,” admitted Stephen Weiss.
But when you’re fighting for the playoffs, you’ll take two points any way you can get them. Any two points is a masterpiece. And the Panthers, behind 35 saves by goalie Tomas Vokoun – including seven against Vinny Lecavalier – left BankAtlantic Center late Saturday evening with two points and yet another step closer to the playoffs.
The Panthers 4-2 victory over the Lightning, coupled with Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, left the Panthers three points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six games remaining in the season.
The Panthers have now taken 17 of the 18 points available to them in their last nine games and are 8-1-2 over their last 11 games. Meanwhile, Vokoun became only the second Panther goalie to win 30 games in a season with a dominant performance.

“It’s a good thing we won, a good thing we got two points,” Olli Jokinen said. “But we have a lot higher expectations. We had way too many turnovers. We can’t turn the puck over like that.”
Said GM and coach Jacques Martin; “I think this is a game you give two points to your goalie. Tomas was outstanding for us.”
In fact, Vokoun made several huge saves. In the second period, he made three stops on Lecavalier in the span of a minute. After the third save in that series, Lecavalier simply skated back to the bench shaking his head in frustration. Vokoun stopped Lecavalier again in the third period with a sprawling stick save.

Game Highlights
Starting Lineups
 Panthers    Lightning
 St. Louis
Post-Game Video
 Jacques Martin
 Olli Jokinen
 Nathan Horton
 Tomas Vokoun
 Panthers vs Lightning
Quote of the Game
“It’s a good thing we won, a good thing we got two points. But we have a lot higher expectations. We had way too many turnovers. We can’t turn the puck over like that.”
-Captain Olli Jokinen
Stat of the Game
The stat of the game goes to the first star of the game, Tomas Vokoun. His 35 saves gave him 30 victories for the third time of his career. He's also just the second Panther goalie to record 30 or more victories in a season (Roberto Luongo in 2005-06)
3 Stars
Presented by Szrio Jewelry
1. Tomas Vokoun
2. Nathan Horton
3. Rostislav Olesz
“Tomas made some huge saves for us,” echoed defenseman Bryan Allen.
And Vokoun wasn’t complaining about the outcome.
“Some nights we played great and lost,” he said. “There were some mistakes, but we won and, hopefully, the next game we’ll be better.”
The Panthers started the game strongly, out-shooting the Lightning 9-3 in the first 20 minutes and taking a 1-0 lead at 3:31 on a power play goal by Jay Bouwmeester on a bad clear by Lightning goalie Mike Smith.
But the Panthers started the second period sluggish and didn’t seem to have an answer to the Lightning’s aggressive forecheck. Martin said the Panthers seemed to be “mesmerized by the puck” in their own end.
“They dominated the second period,” said Martin of the Lightning.
It didn’t help the Panthers beat a path to the penalty box in the second period. But the Panther penalty killers came up big, especially during two, 5-on-3 Lightning power plays.
“Our penalty killers did an outstanding job,” Martin said. “But they (Lightning) were also beating us to the puck…They could have taken the game.”
Still, the Panthers went into the third period with a 2-1 lead thanks to Nathan Horton’s 24th goal with assists from linemates Weiss and David Booth. The Panthers played a much stronger third period and, after Vokoun made a huge save on (who else?) Lecavalier, Jokinen blasted the puck on the power play over Smith’s left shoulder at 10:10 to give the Panthers some breathing room and a 3-1 lead.
Horton put it out of reach with 2:17 remaining when he scored into an empty net. The Lightning scored their only other goal with 1:11 remaining.
The Panthers now will prepare for their first road game since March 4 when they play Tuesday in Tampa. The Panthers then come home for games Thursday against Atlanta and Saturday against Washington before  closing out the season with road games in Atlanta, Carolina and Washington.
“We just have to look ahead to the next game,” Vokoun said. “This has been fun, but we have to focus on one game at a time.”
scoring summary
1st Period
PPG - Jay Bouwmeester (13) ASST: NONE
1 - 0 FLA
2nd Period
Junior Lessard (1) ASST: Mathieu Darche (14), Filip Kuba (23)
1 - 1 Tie
Nathan Horton (24) ASST: David Booth (16), Stephen Weiss (29)
2 - 1 FLA
3rd Period
PPG - Olli Jokinen (33) ASST: Brett McLean (20), Magnus Johansson (12)
3 - 1 FLA
EN - Nathan Horton (25) ASST: Jay Bouwmeester (21), Jassen Cullimore (10)
4 - 1 FLA
Mathieu Darche (6) ASST: Filip Kuba (24), Andreas Karlsson (2)
4 - 2 FLA
penalty summary
1st Period
Martin St. Louis  Holding against  Jassen Cullimore
2nd Period
Jassen Cullimore  Hooking against  Craig MacDonald
Magnus Johansson  Hooking against  Craig MacDonald
Gregory Campbell  Slashing against  Michel Ouellet
Vincent Lecavalier  Slashing against  Rostislav Olesz
Kamil Kreps  Hooking against  Martin St. Louis
Brett McLean  Tripping against  Vincent Lecavalier
3rd Period
Michel Ouellet  Tripping against  Radek Dvorak
Dan Boyle  Hooking against  Brett McLean
Dan Boyle  Closing hand on puck
goalie stats
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
SA: 25TOI: 59:00
Saves: 22EV: 20 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 3
SV%: .880SH: 1 - 1
Tomas Vokoun
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 37TOI: 60:00
Saves: 35EV: 28 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .946SH: 0 - 0