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Jokinen Leads the Charge

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Jokinen Named One of NHL's 'Three Stars'

Following Joe Nieuwendyk's retirement earlier this season, more of the Florida Panthers' leadership responsibilities have fallen on captain Olli Jokinen.

And he has delivered. The Panthers are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and have climbed within six points of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Jokinen was named the NHL's "Second Star" for the week ending March 4. During that stretch, he tied for the League lead with five goals and added one assist in three games. Jokinen opened the week with three goals in a 6-5 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Feb. 27. On March 1, he scored one goal and one assist in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars and netted one goal in a 6-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, March 3.

Jokinen leads the Panthers and ranks tied for 19th in overall in League scoring with 67 points (30 goals, 37 assists) in 66 games.

Jokinen has been captain of the Panthers for three seasons now, but always has been surrounded by a solid core of Canadian veterans to help strengthen the team's leadership.

"Olli has really matured in the past year and has found a way to step up his game," said Gary Roberts, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline. "He has been a real contributor. The way he's going, he's going to be a real star in this league for some time."

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