SUNRISE, FLORIDA (TICKER) —Rookie defenseman Jay Bouwmeester scored with 12 seconds left in regulation as the Florida Panthers rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 4-4 tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tim Taylor was penalized for hooking with 48 seconds left in the third period, giving Florida its fifth power play. Viktor Kozlov and Olli Jokinen worked the puck to the high slot, where Bouwmeester put a one-timer past goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
“Kozlov made a good pass to me, I shot it and it went in,” said Bouwmeester, the third overall pick in last year’s draft. “We had to get something done.”
“It’s quite a compliment to the franchise or to the players and it holds a bright future for us,” coach Mike Keenan added.
Tampa Bay had all six shots in overtime but failed to capitalize on a power play after Matt Cullen took a hooking penalty at 2:27. Defenseman Pavel Kubina had the best chance to win it but shot across the crease with goalie Jani Hurme caught out of position.
Hurme came on 8:22 into the second period after Roberto Luongo surrendered three goals on 11 shots. Hurme stopped 12 of 13 shots the rest of the way.
“The third goal, he (Luongo) should have had, and from time to time, your goaltender is going to have an off game or give up a bad goal,” Keenan said.
Kozlov started the Panthers’ comeback with 9:15 to go in the second period, scoring his 14th goal just 90 seconds after rookie Alexander Svitov gave the Lightning a 4-1 lead with a wrist shot from the right circle.
“It was a good comeback,” Kozlov said, “but we would have been happier if we won.”
Jokinen made it 4-3 with 8:14 left in the third with a wrist shot from outside the crease for his team-best 28th goal and second of the game. He also had two assists, tying a career high with four points.
“Everybody woke up when Keenan came into the dressing room,” said Jokinen, whose 28 goals are a single-season record for a Panthers center. “We shouldn’t need a wake-up call, we should be ready at the start of the game. Our chances didn’t look good for coming back. Every game is a playoff game for us and we need the points.”
Defenseman Nolan Pratt started the scoring for Tampa Bay just 4:25 into the game with his first goal since March 6, 2001. But Jokinen tied it on the power play with 30 seconds remaining in the opening period.
“They kept coming at us,” Andreychuk said. “We’re trying to hold the lead, but we sat back and watched the puck a little bit.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Richards added. “We stayed back on our heels and didn’t forecheck. It’s a tough penalty call with 48 seconds left.”
This was the league-leading 23rd overtime game for Florida (4-10-9), which ended a five-game home losing streak against its intrastate rival.
“We shouldn’t even be in that situation like that,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “If our players are competing at the level they should be competing at throughout the game, we’re not in that situation.”
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