SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - This was one nice home opener for the Florida Panthers.
David Booth had two goals and Florida beat Tampa Bay 6-0 on Saturday night, jumping out to a big lead while handing the Lightning their first loss of the season.
Cory Stillman, Booth, Steven Reinprecht, and Dennis Wideman each scored in the first period. Booth added his second and Rostislav Olesz also scored in the third in front of a sellout crowd of 17,040.
``That's about as good as it gets,' Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. ``A good crowd, entertaining game, it was just what the doctor ordered for us coming off the road.'
Florida's Tomas Vokoun had 29 saves, earning his second shutout of the season and 40th of his career. Bryan McCabe had four assists.
``It's a nice start at home. I thought we played really hard,' McCabe said. ``Sometimes it's tough coming back from a road trip and sometimes there's a letdown. We didn't let that happen tonight.'
Mike Smith replaced Dan Ellis in the first and finished with 20 saves for the Lightning. Ellis allowed three goals on 15 shots.
McCabe, Radek Dvorak and Stillman combined for Florida's first goal less than two minutes into the game. McCabe took a cross-ice pass from Dvorak and pushed the puck to Stillman in the slot. His shot beat Ellis on the stick side.
The Panthers chased Ellis with two more goals in less than a minute. Booth picked up a loose puck in front of the net and beat Ellis at 14:25. Reinprecht, making his first start of the season, then picked up a rebound and poked it in at 15:13.
Smith entered but it didn't get any better for Tampa Bay. Wideman converted a one-timer from the left circle for Florida's first power-play goal of the season.
``They were home and they need to please their fans at the opener,' Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. ``They had all the emotions they needed. For us, it was just the opposite. Our goaltenders have been great up until now but they were like the rest of the team tonight. They were just off.'
Booth's second goal came at 7:49 of the third. He took a pass from Olesz just below the left circle and one-timed it past Smith. Olesz's goal came at 17:25, his second of the season.
``It just feels good to put six goals on the board,' Booth said. ``That gives the whole team confidence.'
NOTES: Reinprecht missed the first three games of the season as a healthy scratch after playing in all 82 games last season. ... Florida's Jason Garrison left the game with a lower body injury. ... Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos had a seven-game scoring streak dating to last season snapped.
The Associated Press News Service
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