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Cats Strike to Defeat Lightning 4-2

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Nieuwendyk Tallies Two Goals; Panthers Complete Home-and-Home Series in Tampa Monday Night

Roberto Luongo recorded his 106th victory as a Panther tying John Vanbiesbrouck for most wins in franchise history as the Cats' defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 at the BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night.

Luongo backstopped the Panthers with 42 saves.

With the two points earned, the playoff push continues as the Cats' sit six points behind the eighth spot held by the Lightning. The Panthers have picked up 23 out of a possible 28 points in their last 13 games recording an 11-2-1 record.

Nathan Horton opened up the scoring as he connected 24 seconds into the game for his 26th goal on a dish from Joe Nieuwendyk. Nieuwendyk collected a loose puck off the boards thwarting a Lightning icing opportunity to set up the goal. Martin Gelinas recorded his 22nd assist on the play.

Late in the first period Nieuwendyk would strike next as he collected a pass from Gary Roberts for his 20th of the year. Juraj Kolnik initiated the play passing to Roberts in the corner who then dished to an open Nieuwendyk who lofted the puck over a squatting John Grahame on the power play.

At 8:22 of the second period Olli Jokinen collected a rebound off a shot from Jay Bouwmeester to score his 34th goal of the season. Sean Hill set up the play dishing to Bouwmeester who rocketed a shot on goal.

Late in the second period Joe Nieuwendyk came streaking down the ice and launched a shot to the right of an outstretched Grahame for his second goal of the of the game. Bouwmeester assisted on the play and the Lightning replaced John Grahame with Sean Burke after the goal.

The Panthers have outscored the Lightning 24-13 in the five contests of the season series.

Noteworthy: Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban was in attendance.

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