SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—It took perhaps the best goaltending performance in the NHL this season to slow down the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I’ve been feeling good all year,” Luongo said. “Some nights the bounces go for you, some nights they don’t. Tonight, obviously they did and we got two points.”
Luongo kept Florida in the game in the first two periods while the Panthers were being outshot 34-9. His best save came midway through the second period after a rebound when he reached out with his glove to stop Tim Taylor’s shot into an open net.
“Let’s face the facts, if he doesn’t play like he does for 40 minutes, we’re nowhere near that game,” Florida coach Rick Dudley said. “We know it. Everybody knows it.”
The Panthers snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) despite being outshot 51-15.
The 51 shots represented a franchise record for Tampa Bay, beating the old mark of 47.
“A lot of good things happened out there, but to win games, everybody’s got to be there every night. That is what’s frustrating,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “Some key guys need to be there all the time and they made some big mistakes.”
Martin St. Louis scored the only goal for the Lightning, who could have tied the team record of six consecutive victories and set the franchise mark of five consecutive road wins.
John Grahame made 13 saves for Tampa Bay and allowed more than one goal for the first time in five starts.
“We lose two points to a team we should beat,” Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk said. “They move up in the standings and we don’t. That’s the bottom line.”
The victory moved Florida within seven points of Tampa Bay, which leads the Southeast Division with 49 points.
Jokinen, who had scored only once in 15 games, netted the winner with 5:13 left when he took a pass from Marcus Nilson from behind the net and beat Grahame with a wrist shot from the left circle.
Jokinen broke a scoreless tie at 5:42 of the third period when he took a pass from Donald Audette in the slot, twirled around, and fired a wrist shot that beat Grahame to the glove side.
“It’s always nice to score,” Jokinen said. “The guys made a nice play. I just tried to hit the net and it went in. … I’ve been going through some tough times lately. I’ve been thinking a little too much about scoring goals. I went back to simple things and try to get into games early on.”
St. Louis tied it less than a minute after Jokinen’s first goal when he took a rebound to the side of the net and fired a backhand that bounced in off the shoulder of Luongo.
“I still think he saw too many pucks,” St. Louis said. “If Luongo sees the puck, he’s going to make the save. We’ve got to get in front of him. We’ve got to create traffic.”
Florida had a great scoring chance in the first period when Valeri Bure had a breakaway, but he was turned back when Grahame stopped his wrist shot with his left arm.
“It was definitely a big win for us especially because we didn’t play that well,” Jokinen said. “We’ve got one of the best goalies in the game and he’s going to give us a fair chance to win the game every single night and that wasexactly what happened.”
The Panthers had their second home sellout of the season. … Florida RW Viktor Kozlov injured a toe in the second period and didn’t return. … Florida RW Juraj Kolnik returned after missing five games because of an ankle injury. … St. Louis has 18 points in 12 games. … The Panthers improved to 5-1-3 in their last nine home games. … Florida improved to 2-0-1 this seasonagainst its cross-state rival.