NHL Game Summary - Florida at Tampa Bay
(Wednesday, October 10th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Florida 1
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Chris Gratton scored twice, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers, 2-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Mathieu Darche, Jason Ward, Paul Ranger and Michel Ouellet each assisted Gratton for the Lightning, who opened the season with a 3-1 win over New Jersey, then recorded a 5-2 victory against Atlanta on Saturday. Johan Holmqvist blocked 30 shots in the win, which gave the Lightning their third 3-0 start in team history.
"He (Holmqvist) made some big saves," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "Holmer was very good, but we ended up with some good chances, scored a key power-play goal, but again, all three of the games, Holmer looks very confident and has played very well."
Ville Peltonen scored the lone tally for the Panthers, who dropped their season opener to the New York Rangers before suffering a 4-1 setback to the Devils on Saturday. Backup goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 21 shots in his season debut.
Gratton got Tampa Bay on the board 9:03 into the first period on a backhander assisted by Darche and Ward.
Florida tied the score at one 4:04 into the second period when Olli Jokinen fired a wrister from the left circle before Peltonen tipped it in.
Gratton later scored midway through the second period on a tip-in after Ranger took a cross-ice pass from Ouellet, who initially missed on a slap shot attempt, for the decisive goal of the game.
"I think it was probably the best game for our season so far," Jokinen said. "I don't think we created that many chances the first two games."
Gratton, who has now notched 14 career multi-goal games, was reacquired by Tampa Bay from Florida for a 2008 second-round draft pick in June...Wednesday's game between Florida and Tampa Bay was the first of the 2007-08 season. The Panthers went 5-3 against the Lightning last season and have won six of the last 10 matchups. Florida is 4-9-2 in its last 15 at St. Pete Times Forum.
10/10 23:53:03 ET