SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers have been together for two games, and it’s working out quite well for each side.
Jagr had a goal and an assist, and the Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Sunday.
Aaron Ekblad, Brad Boyes and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers (28-22-13). Al Montoya made 20 saves, and Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists.
Jagr, who was acquired in a trade with New Jersey on Thursday for two draft picks, moved into a tie with Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL list with 717 career goals. It was his first multipoint game since Jan. 3 when he scored three times against Philadelphia.
Tyler Johnson, Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman scored for the Lightning (38-20-6). Ben Bishop stopped 22 shots.
Florida won its second straight game after losing the previous four, and beat Tampa Bay for the first time in their past six games. The Panthers have scored nine goals in the past two games after scoring four in the previous four losses.
“It’s only two games, but it was a big two games for us,” Jagr said. “We are back in the race.”
Jagr’s goal at 10:24 of the first gave Florida a 1-0 lead for the first time in five games. After Huberdeau’s pass from the left side went off a defenseman’s skate, Jagr took the puck in the slot, and his wrist shot beat Bishop.
It was his 12th goal of the season and first point in 10 games, ending the longest such drought in his NHL career.
“I?don’t really look right now to the goals,” Jagr said. “My goal is different. I?came here to help this team try to make the playoffs or make it close as possible. We’ve got 19 games to go and it’s going to be exciting.”
Trailing 4-1, the Lightning rallied in the third. Stamkos poked in the puck from in front at 8:31 for his 35th goal of the season and seventh in his last eight games. Johnson then scored with 2:44 left to make it 4-3, but the Panthers held on.
“Clearly we had the jump in the third but by then it was too late,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “This is a disappointing one tonight.”
The Lightning only took 12 shots in the first two periods.
“It’s not acceptable,” Stamkos said. “You can’t expect to win the way we played; turning the puck over and not winning any battles against a team that’s playing for their lives.”
After Jagr’s goal, Tampa Bay tied it when Stralman’s shot from along the boards near the left circle hit the crossbar and went into the net at 12:08 of the first.
The Panthers jumped in front for good in the second. Bishop blocked a shot by Jagr, but the puck drifted in the crease and Barkov was able to go over the top and nudge it in at 5:31.
Boyes’ 200th career NHL goal made it 3-1 with three minutes left in the second, and Ekblad added a power-play goal when his shot from the left circle went off the leg of a Lightning defender and into the net at 4:18 of the third.
It was the rookie’s 10th goal of the season, but his first in 10 games.
“I was sitting there for a while at nine. It’s a nice thing to have but we’re more focused on the win,” Ekblad said.
NOTES: The Lightning played their sixth road game in their past seven and will play nine of their next 11 games at home. … Panthers F Dave Bolland was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 21 with an upper-body injury.
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