Cats Pick Up Fourth Win in a Row
Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss
are making Florida Panthers coach Jacques Martin look good.
Horton and Weiss each scored two goals, and Ville Peltonen scored on a penalty shot to lead the Panthers to a season-high fourth straight victory, 6-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
"Since I put them together, they've been good every night," said Martin, who put youngsters Horton and Weiss on a line with Martin Gelinas nearly three weeks ago.
"Even if they haven't scored on certain nights, they have played against the opposition's best line and done a good job."
Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers, 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. Ed Belfour stopped 31 shots.
Nolan Pratt and Vaclav Prospal scored for Tampa Bay, which lost for the second time in its last 11 games.
Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist was replaced by Marc Denis just 5:25 into the game after the Panthers scored on their first two shots.
Horton used defenseman Dan Boyle as a screen to score his 23rd goal at 5:03. Only 22 seconds later, Jokinen scored his 30th on a backhander from the right circle.
Pratt made it 2-1 at 8:16 of the second period, directing in a cross-ice pass from Martin St. Louis for his first goal. Then Florida took command.
"I thought Marc came in to make some good saves to keep us around," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "I think the most important goal was that third goal."
Weiss scored twice in the second period. He split between Boyle and Paul Ranger, skated in on Denis and put a wrist shot stick side for his 15th goal at 11:11. He also scored on a slap shot from the top of the left circle at 15:38 to make the score 4-1.
"The game got away and when were down 3-1," St. Louis said.
Weiss, 23, and Horton, 21, are making a believer out of 18-year veteran Gelinas.
"Stephen's been unbelievable. He's just been a pleasure to play with," Gelinas said. "He brings some great energy for all his teammates, and scoring some big goals. And with Nathan ... it's been a lot of fun."
Peltonen was awarded a penalty shot at 7:54 of the third period after being taken down by Boyle while skating in on Denis. Peltonen scored his 12th goal on a wrist shot that beat Denis glove side.
Peltonen became the first Florida player to score on a penalty shot at home. Horton was the last Panther to convert a penalty shot when he scored at Philadelphia on Jan. 8, 2004.
"It's amazing, almost 15 years without scoring at home on a penalty shot," Peltonen said. "It's about time I guess."
Notes: Jokinen has scored in four straight games and has at least 30 goals in three of the past four seasons. ... Martin became the 12th NHL coach with 1,000 games. Martin is 470-386-143 in 13 years with St. Louis, Ottawa and Florida. ... The Lightning have lost six of their last seven games at Florida. ... Gelinas and Alexei Semenov both had two assists. ... Holmqvist had won 13 of previous 17 starts.