SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - After two games, Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers are perfect.
Luongo made 27 saves for his second straight shutout and Juraj Kolnik broke up a scoreless game with 2:27 left Friday night, leading Florida to a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Luongo hasn't been dented yet this season, having shut out Atlanta on 34 shots in the season opener on Wednesday. He is picking up right where he left off before the lockout.
``In both games, we had clutch goals in the third period,'' Luongo said. ``We were able to hang on and play well defensively. That makes my job a lot easier.''
During the 2003-04 season, Luongo set NHL records for most saves (2,303) and most shots faced (2,475). No goalie with more than 50 starts had a better save percentage than Luongo's .931, and he was fifth in the league with seven shutouts.
It was the 25th career shutout for Luongo, who has gone 127 minutes, 11 seconds since allowing a goal.
``This is the way we went to keep playing. We want to keep getting the key goals and put the points on the board. That's how we're going to make the playoffs,'' Luongo said.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning were facing Luongo for the first time, but they will see him seven more times this season including Saturday at home.
``He's one of the top goalies in the league, no doubt,'' Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier said. ``I don't think he's surprising anyone with how good he is.''
John Grahame was nearly as good as Luongo. He made 30 saves but couldn't deny Kolnik, who helped send the Lightning to their first loss of the young season.
Jozef Stumpel sent a shot from the left point that kicked off the boards and floated to the right circle where Kolnik was waiting. Kolnik's one-timer went over the top of Grahame's shoulder and into the net.
Panthers captain Olli Jokinen finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:27 left.
``It was a good hockey game, an exciting hockey game,'' Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. ``It went back and forth and we had some good chances at the end. We are using the depth of our bench, and it seems that everyone is contributing.''
Lightning coach John Tortorella didn't pin the loss on Grahame, who has been solid in two games. Instead, he pointed to too many chances given up defensively, and some sloppy play while handling the puck.
``The top two lines for us not only didn't create anything, but they gave up a lot of rushes, and that's a problem,'' Tortorella said. ``Overall, the chances were pretty even, but when you have chances being taken by your third and fourth lines, and your top two lines are giving up chances, that's not good.''
The Lightning had decent scoring opportunities but couldn't solve Luongo.
``Some of the times we didn't get the puck deep enough, and then we got caught,'' captain Dave Andreychuk said. ``They had some 3-on-2s, and that's something we need to cut down on. But it was a 0-0 game until the end, so we had as many chances as they did.''
Florida's defense was superb, and even when there were a few lapses Luongo held his ground.
``We played tight defense, and Louie's on the net making saves,'' Jokinen said. ``I knew we'd get a couple chances. Kolnik's goal was the same kind Nathan (Horton) scored in the first game. You have to shoot the puck quickly, and you never know. That was kind of a lucky goal but we'll take those.''
Notes: Florida improved to 17-6-4-2 against Tampa Bay at home and 29-16-10-2 overall.
|Juraj Kolnik (1) ASST: Jozef Stumpel (1), Mike Van Ryn (1)|
1 - 0 FLA
|EN - Olli Jokinen (1) ASST: Joe Nieuwendyk (1), Rostislav Olesz (1)|
2 - 0 FLA
|Roberto Luongo Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie|
|Vinny Prospal Hooking|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Interference|
|Pavel Kubina Delay of game|
|Mike Van Ryn Hooking|
|Jozef Stumpel Tripping|
|John Grahame Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie|
|Lukas Krajicek Holding|
|Branislav Mezei Interference|
|Dan Boyle Tripping|
|Branislav Mezei Clipping|