SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -While Cory Stillman and Rostislav Olesz each scored two goals Saturday night, Tomas Vokoun drew the most praise from his Florida teammates.
Vokoun made 47 saves in the Panthers' 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bryan Allen also scored in the second game of the home-and-home series.
``Vokoun was great, especially early in the third,' Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. ``The first 5 minutes of the third we got on our heels and he made some big saves and shut the door.'
On Thursday night in Tampa, the Panthers beat the Lightning 3-2.
``We had a real gritty one the other night in Tampa,' Florida defenseman Keith Ballard said. ``Tonight we were opportunistic and Vokoun played awesome. In the third period we gave up a lot of shots and he was there kicking rebounds away and making saves.'
Alex Tanguay and Andrej Meszaros scored for Tampa Bay.
Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki stopped 13 shots through two periods. He was replaced in the third period by Dustin Tokarski, who made five saves in his NHL debut.
``That was exciting, for sure. I was nervous, but after a save or two, I felt pretty good,' Tokarski said. ``So it was a great experience and I'm glad they put me in there.'
The Panthers went up 4-2 when Olesz scored at 5:02 in the second period, then stretched their lead with his power-play goal. Olesz picked up a rebound off Niittymaki's pads and tipped in the puck to make it 5-2 at 12:36 in the second.
Meszaros scored on a shot from just inside the blue line that trickled through Vokoun's pads to tie it at 2 with 3:29 left in the first period. But Florida countered less than a minute later, when Allen scored with a slap shot to make it 3-2 with 2:57 left. Stillman had an assist on Allen's goal, the defenseman's third of the season.
Tanguay closed the gap to 2-1 with 8:16 left in the first period. He took a pass from Vincent Lecavalier and beat Vokoun for the 200th goal of his NHL career. It was Lecavalier's 400th career assist.
Stillman opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:07 in the first period. Steven Reinprecht fed the puck to Stillman, who was near the right side of the crease. His wrist shot gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
Stillman's second goal of the night, which came on Florida's third shot, made it 2-0 at 10:28 in the first period.
``We got off to a good start,' Stillman said. ``We got a power play we scored on right away, and then their defenseman missed the puck. After that I'd say it's all Vokoun. He stood on his head, he made some saves. It's a game where he's really the first star. It's a big two points for us.'
NOTES: The Panthers accepted donations from fans for the victims of Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti. ... Reinprecht skated in his 600th NHL game. ... Panthers C Stephen Weiss left the game with a nagging lower-body injury. DeBoer said he expected Weiss would be OK on Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved