NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Florida
(Saturday, February 17th)
Final Score: Florida 5, Tampa Bay 4 (OT)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Nathan Horton's overtime winner sent the Florida Panthers to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at BankAtlantic Center.
Steven Weiss had a goal and two assists for the Panthers, winners in three of their last four contests. Ruslan Salei, Bryan Allen and Ville Peltonen also lit the lamp.
Ed Belfour picked up the win, his 16th of the season and 473rd career victory, by stopping 16 shots.
Martin St. Louis scored a pair for the Lightning, who saw their three-game win streak halted by their intra-state rivals. Dan Boyle registered a goal and an assist, while Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier notched two helpers each and Eric Perrin also hit the net.
Johan Holmqvist made 25 saves, but fell to 21-12-0 on the year.
With 29 seconds played in the extra session, Horton was able to find the loose puck through traffic in the Tampa crease and lift it over Holmqvist, who had fallen while attempting to corral Jay Bouwmeester's initial shot.
"It was a loose puck, and it's four-on-four, and it seemed like there were a lot of guys in front of the net so I tried to take it away from the traffic and I got away from the traffic and it went in," said Horton.
Florida got on the board quickly, 1:47 into the game on a power-play goal. Salei's left point floater hit the net over Holmqvist's shoulder, and appeared to deflect off captain Olli Jokinen, but the defenseman was credited with the tally, his sixth of the season.
Weiss followed with a beautiful top-shelf backhander at 4:02 to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
St. Louis would strike with lightning quickness to make it a 2-1 game at 6:09 on a delayed penalty, slamming home Prospal's pass from the right faceoff dot.
Perrin picked up his 10th of the season off a giveaway, and he walked right in on Belfour and slipped a backhander through his pads for a 2-2 tie at 11:03.
Tampa Bay untied the contest as St. Louis slipped his man in the slot and shot a rebound over the fallen Belfour with 3:32 left in the period for a 3-2 Lightning advantage.
The offense continued in the middle stanza, as both teams hit the net once, and accumulated 20 total shots.
Allen's far-side wrister through traffic brought the Panthers into a 3-3 tie 6:48 into the second, but Boyle countered with a lucky goal off a Florida defender at 11:11 to give the Lightning a one-goal lead at 4-3.
8:32 remained in regulation when the Panthers pulled even at 4-4 with the man advantage, as Peltonen was in the right place at the right time to put home the rebound of Jokinen's failed stuffer chance.
"Obviously we are two Florida teams," said St. Louis. "They are trying to make a playoff surge and now that we have a hold on our division we are trying to stay there. It's tough. You see any team can beat any team so you can't afford to take a week off."
Florida has won seven of the last 10 meetings...Boyle's assist on Tampa's third goal was his 250th career point...The Panthers improved to 1-5 in overtime, while the Lightning dropped to 2-2...Florida's last overtime win at home came on April 18, 2006 against Atlanta...Tampa finished 1-of-2 on the power play, and has scored 11 goals with the extra man in the last nine games...Florida ended up 2-of-5 on the power play.
02/18 00:46:35 ET