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Jokinen ties franchise scoring mark as Panthers defeat Lightning 6-4 @NHLdotcom

SUNRISE, Fla. - Olli Jokinen's record-tying goal provided the lift Florida needed.

Jokinen had a goal and two assists to tie Scott Mellanby for Florida's career scoring lead in the Panthers' 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

"Before the season, I knew the stats," said Jokinen, who has 156 goals and 198 assists for 354 points in seven season with Florida. "But the main thing is we got two points."

Nathan Horton, Ruslan Salei, Stephen Weiss, Richard Zednik and Jozef Stumpel also scored for the Panthers, who handed Tampa Bay its first loss of the season.

Florida built a 5-1 lead in the third period, but Tampa Bay rallied to close to 5-4 with 8:44 left. Jokinen answered with a goal on a five-on-three power play to seal the victory.

"It's a huge goal, put us back up by two," said Horton. "He's a special player and we're lucky to have him here."

Vaclav Prospal had two third-period goals for Tampa Bay, which started the day as one of two unbeaten teams in the league along with Minnesota. Andre Roy and Jan Hlavac had the other Lightning goals.

Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves for the Panthers.

"All the credit goes to Vokoun," Jokinen said. "He made some huge saves there."

Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist was pulled after Zednik's goal made it 4-0 at 2:34 of the second period. Holmqvist gave up four goals on 15 shots.

Florida is now 8-1 against Tampa Bay at BankAtlantic Center since the start of the 2005-06 season.

"We don t play as well as we should (there), that's for sure," said Tampa Bay centre Vincent Lecavalier, who had two assists. "But we have to stop thinking that when we come here we don't play well. That's not the way we should approach the game."

Stumpel gave Florida a four-goal cushion at 1:26 of the third on a five-on-three power play when he redirected Jokinen's wrist shot from the point.

Prospal started Tampa's rally. He made it 5-2 at 5:51 with a power-play goal when he completed a beautiful passing sequence by tapping in Vincent Lecavalier's cross-ice pass.

"I thought we had them when it was 5-4," said Lightning coach John Tortorella. "We had the opportunity to come back and we took another penalty. We need to get our discipline down to win in this league."

The Lightning then scored twice in 44 seconds to make it a one-goal game. Prospal scored on a short wrist shot before Hlavac one-timed Brad Richards' pass from behind the net at 8:44.

Florida grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game on goals by Horton and Salei, and took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission after Weiss scored at 18:57.

"We learned a lesson again tonight," Jokinen said. "We can't relax against a good team, even if we have a four-or five-goal lead."

Notes: Tampa Bay D Andreas Karlsson sat out his fourth consecutive game because of an abdominal injury. ... Tampa Bay D Paul Ranger had an assist for the fourth time in four games. ... In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Panthers coaches and broadcasters wore pink ties. ... Tampa Bay s best start came during the Stanley Cup season of 2003-04 when the Lightning began 6-0.

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