for this game

Halpern helps Lightning top Panthers

Mar 26, 2008 - 4:24 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Jeff Halpern and the Tampa Bay Lightning delivered a crushing blow to the Florida Panthers.

Halpern snapped a tie early in the third period and added a pair of assists as the Lightning skated past the Panthers, 3-1, on Tuesday.

Michel Ouellet had a goal and an assist, defenseman Filip Kuba added an empty-netter and Karri Ramo stopped 34 shots for Tampa Bay, which has won three straight at home and finished its season series with Florida even at four wins apiece.

David Booth scored the lone goal for the Panthers (36-32-9), who fell to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and five points behind the Boston Bruins (38-28-10) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining.

"We have to generate more chances," Booth said. "Everybody wants to win here, especially since we've been on such a good run lately. Maybe we could have snuck two more goals in there tonight and it would've been a whole different game."

Ouellet gave the Lightning an early lead exactly three minutes into the game, when his rebound shot beat goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the stick side, bouncing off the right goalpost in the process. It was Ouellet's 16th of the season and third in his last seven games.

"Halpern and Ouellet just seem to have a little bit of chemistry there," Lightning coach John Tortorella said.

Booth tied it at 2:58 of the second session. After stealing the puck in the neutral zone, the second-year left wing unleashed a blast from the left faceoff dot that went between the pads of Ramo for his 21st of the campaign.

However, just 71 seconds into the third, Halpern received a cross-crease pass from Ouellet and slipped the puck past Vokoun for a 2-1 lead. For Halpern, who did not play in the Lightning's 4-2 loss to the Panthers on Saturday, it was his 17th goal of the season and seventh since being acquired from Dallas on February 26.

"Obviously, we've got a little bit of a rivalry with the Panthers," Lightning defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "I believe last year when we were trying to get in (the playoffs), I think they gave it to us pretty good. It felt good tonight to beat them and hopefully keep them out. That way we won't feel as bad."

The 31-year-old Halpern helped on the final tally as well, when his block of a shot attempt led to Kuba's empty-netter with 52 seconds remaining.

"Without a playoff picture, I'm just trying to have fun in these games," Halpern said. "Coming in, working hard and paying the price to win makes it enjoyable these last few games."

After stopping all seven shots he faced in the first period, Ramo made 15 saves in the second and 12 more in the third en route to the victory.

"Karri played well," Tortorella said. "He was a bit all over the map early in the game, as he was really excited to play. But he settled himself down, and that's one of the biggest things for me."

Vokoun made 23 saves for the Panthers, who lost in regulation for the first time since February 29.

"The Lighting had nothing to lose and we played under tremendous pressure," Vokoun said.

Florida coach Jacques Martin was not happy with the loss.

"Some people weren't good enough, that's the bottom line," Martin said. "We had one line, the Stephen Weiss line, produce nine scoring chances for us. Other people have to pull their weight. It's very disappointing because I know some people care and they gave up a strong game, but you have to have everybody going when you come to games like this."






  • 10
    roots
    bigbelly Added 5 roots

    Panthers 1, Lightning 3  FinalMar 25 10:46 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 1 0 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MICHEL OUELLET 16 (JEFF HALPERN, DAN BOYLE) 3:00
    2ND PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 21 (UNASSISTED) 2:58
    3RD PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 17 (MICHEL OUELLET, JUSSI JOKINEN) 1:11
    TAM - (EN) FILIP KUBA 5 (JEFF HALPERN) 19:08
    P

    Mar 25 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    TAMPA BAY 3
    3RD PRD: TAM - (EN) FILIP KUBA 5 (JEFF HALPERN) 19:08

    Panthers 1, Lightning 3  3rd - 0:52Mar 25 9:54 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    TAMPA BAY 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 17 (MICHEL OUELLET, JUSSI JOKINEN) 1:11

    Panthers 1, Lightning 2  3rd - 18:49Mar 25 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 1 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MICHEL OUELLET 16 (JEFF HALPERN, DAN BOYLE) 3:00
    2ND PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 21 (UNASSISTED) 2:58
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 7 16 23
    TAM 11

    Mar 25 9:04 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Againigan Added 5 roots

    Panthers 1, Lightning 1  2nd - 14:05Mar 25 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    TAMPA BAY 1
    2ND PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 21 (UNASSISTED) 2:58

    Panthers 1, Lightning 1  2nd - 17:02Mar 25 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MICHEL OUELLET 16 (JEFF HALPERN, DAN BOYLE) 3:00
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 7 7
    TAM 11 11
    GOALIES: FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN
    TAM -

    Mar 25 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - MICHEL OUELLET 16 (JEFF HALPERN, DAN BOYLE) 3:00

    Panthers 0, Lightning 1  1st - 17:00Mar 25 7:51 PM