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Bouwmeester, Panthers continue home success vs. Lightning

Oct 14, 2006 - 2:30 AM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers continued to be rude hosts to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester scored the go-ahead power-play goal and Olli Jokinen recorded two assists as the Panthers posted a 3-2 victory over the Lightning in the first game of a home-and-home series.

Florida has won seven of its last eight meetings against Tampa Bay at the BankAtlantic Center. On Friday, it was more of the same for the Panthers, who took advantage of a costly third-period penalty.

Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist was whistled for an illegal touch outside of the trapezoid area behind the net, giving the Panthers their pivotal power play.

"It's a bad play," Holmqvist said. "It cost us the game. Bad penalty, bad goal."

After Jokinen won a faceoff, defenseman Ruslan Salei fed Bouwmeester, who blasted a slap shot past Holmqvist nine minutes into the third session to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.

"It was just one of those things where you just try and get it on net and see what happens," Bouwmeester said. "It went in, so that's good." Alex Auld made 21 saves for the Panthers, including a game-saving denial of Ryan Craig at the doorstep with one minute remaining in the final period.

Jokinen assisted on Nathan Horton's goal with 49 seconds remaining in the first period to give Florida a 2-1 advantage. Juraj Kolnik started the scoring for the Panthers with 5:26 remaining in the opening session.

"We had some great opportunities and sometimes you can't control when the puck is going to go in," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "You just need to be persistent and hopefully, I think we're in the right direction as far as reducing the number of chances against us."

Craig did score earlier in the game for the Lightning, recording his fourth goal of the season at the 9:19 mark of the middle session to tie the game at 2-2.

Holmqvist stopped 24 shots in his season debut for Tampa Bay, which has lost four straight.

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