Final OT

Series (Game 5 of 8)

Florida leads 6-2

Game 1: Friday, October 7th
Lightning0Final
Panthers2
Game 2: Saturday, October 8th
Panthers1Final
Lightning2
Game 3: Tuesday, January 24th
Panthers3Final
OT
Lightning2
Game 4: Tuesday, February 28th
Panthers8Final
Lightning2
Game 5: Monday, March 20th
Lightning5Final
OT
Panthers6
Game 6: Saturday, April 1st
Lightning2Final
Panthers4
Game 7: Monday, April 3rd
Panthers1Final
Lightning4
Game 8: Sunday, April 9th
Lightning3Final
Panthers6

Lightning 5

(36-28-5, 77 pts)

Panthers 6

(29-30-9, 67 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 20, 2006

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 OT T
TB 0 1 4 05
FLA 1 4 0 16

O. Jokinen (Panthers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

J. Stumpel (Panthers - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. St. Louis (Lightning - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Panthers blow four-goal lead, but beat Lightning in OT

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Olli Jokinen helped the Florida Panthers' playoff push avoid a costly bump.

Jokinen scored on a breakaway with 1:44 left in overtime, lifting the Panthers to a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.

The Panthers won for the sixth time in seven games despite squandering a four-goal lead in the third period.

Tampa Bay trailed 5-1 after two periods before tying it with two goals by Martin St. Louis and one each by Ryan Craig and Brad Richards to force overtime.

"We have to learn from this," said Jokinen, who scored his eighth game-winning goal. "They showed why they were the Stanley Cup Champions two years ago. Good teams never quit."

Jozef Stumpel had two goals and Ric Jackman, Steve Montador and Juraj Kolnik also scored for Florida, which has won four of five meetings -- winning twice in overtime -- this season with division rival Tampa Bay. Roberto Luongo had 29 saves for the Panthers.

John Grahame stopped 20-of-25 shots for the Lightning before being replaced by Gerald Coleman at the start of the third period. Coleman faced six shots in overtime.

"He's a little nervous at times, rightfully so," Lightning coach John Tortorella said of Coleman. "He's a guy we have big plans for."

Jokinen scored the decisive goal, his 33rd of the season, by firing a wrist shot between Coleman's legs to enable Florida to overcome Tampa Bay's rally.

"Last time I checked, we're in the entertainment business," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said.

Jokinen, who also had two assists, broke loose in the neutral zone after taking a pass from Stumpel.

"I knew he was right up there, so I just moved it to him because I know he's pretty good on breakaways," Stumpel said.

Florida remained six points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens defeated Washington 4-2.

After Ruslan Fedotenko's 22nd goal tied the score 1-1 just nine seconds into the second period, Florida scored four straight goals.

Stumpel, who has 15 points in his last eight games, backhanded a centering pass from Gary Roberts at 4:14. Montador took Jokinen's drop pass in the left circle and fired the puck past Grahame's high glove side to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead at 15:44.

Kolnik had a power-play goal at 18:24, and Stumpel capped the flurry 59 seconds later to make it 5-1.

"You get a couple of bad bounces, they go in, and the next thing you know it's a 5-1 game," St. Louis said. "At that point, there's nothing to lose. You just have to go out and play and see what happens. It happened."

St. Louis scored a power-play goal 1:12 into the third period and then his 23rd goal at 6:34.

Game notes


Montador and Jackman scored their first goals with the Panthers. Montador was acquired from Calgary on Dec. 2 and Jackman was acquired from Pittsburgh on March 10. ... The teams play three more times, all in the first nine days of April. ... Florida's Roberts returned after missing 16 games with an MCL sprain.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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