NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Florida
(Saturday, January 12th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Florida 3
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Brad Richards had two goals, his first scores in almost a month, as Tampa Bay withstood a furious third-period Florida rally to win, 5-3, at BankAtlantic Center.
Richards' last goal came on December 13 against Calgary, but the forward had only recorded five assists since. Nick Tarnasky also had a pair of goals for the Lightning, who won for just the third time in their last 14 games. Johan Holmqvist made 27 saves in the win.
"Obviously it feels pretty good to get two goals in a game and I'm excited about the win," Tarnasky said. "It's just something I've been working on in practice, just going to the net, shooting pucks and trying to find areas to score from."
David Booth, Olli Jokinen, and Brett McLean each scored for the Panthers, who have lost three of four and seven of 10. Tomas Vokoun turned away 20 shots in the loss.
The Lightning scored four consecutive goals, spreading them out between all three periods, to take a 4-1 lead almost midway through the final stanza. But Florida inundated the Tampa Bay defense with pressure down the stretch, in a comeback bid that fell just inches short.
With 5:01 left in the game, Booth deflected a shot from the left point with his stick, flipping the puck up and over Holmqvist's shoulder to bring Florida within two.
Then, with 1:29 on the clock, the Panthers got within one on a pinball-like goal. A shot from above the right circle first hit the stick of Tampa Bay's Vaclav Prospal, then that of McLean -- who was stationed to the right of the net -- and past Holmqvist's glove.
Florida was pressuring again in the final minute and got a genuine chance with about 30 seconds left. But Booth's shot from the slot hit the right post, and bounced away.
Richards scored an empty-net goal with 16 seconds left to seal the win for the Lightning.
It was an unlikely scenario for Tampa Bay to go through, considering the team dominated the game after Jokinen scored his 21st goal of the season just 38 seconds into the contest.
"It was a bad start. I can't remember it but the first shot went in and I just tried to regroup, and I had a pretty good save right after they scored there," Holmqvist said. "So I felt I was right back in the game."
Tarnasky scored at the 10:39 mark of the first period on a one-timer, off a feed from Craig MacDonald from behind the net. Then, two minutes into the second period, Jan Hlavac deflected a shot with his skate, and the puck found the back of the net.
Just 1:06 later, Tarnasky tallied his second goal of the game, and third of the season, by wheeling around on the inner edge of the left circle and whipping a shot by Vokoun.
"Three minutes in the second period! The same thing happened a few games ago against (Pittsburgh), the same thing," Florida forward Radek Dvorak said. "Two minutes and we lose the hockey game. We still had 20 minutes left but we didn't work hard for 60 minutes."
Richards completed the Lightning run 9:15 into the third period with a power- play goal, getting a slapshot from the high slot by everyone to give his team a 4-1 lead.
The Lightning are 3-10-3 in their last 16 contests and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just 37 points on the season.
Tampa Bay was 1-for-3 on the power play, while Florida was 0-for-1...Martin St. Louis and MacDonald each had two assists for Tampa Bay.
01/12 22:55:54 ET