TAMPA, Fla. -- Seeking a share of first place in the Southeast Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning instead ended up with a bad loss.
It was Florida's first win in three games at Tampa this season.
A victory would have pulled Tampa Bay even with Atlanta atop the division standings. Instead, the Lightning (86 points) are tied with Montreal for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots, with three teams two points behind.
"This hurts. This game really hurts right now," Lightning captain Tim Taylor said. "All is not lost. We have to remain positive. You never want a team thinking negative thoughts."
Jokinen has six goals and seven assists in his last five games. He has three goals and seven assists against the Lightning this season.
Tampa Bay is trying to earn its fourth straight playoff appearance.
"We're taking the long route here, that's for sure, about getting in," Lightning coach Tortorella said. "We are going to get in. We're just going around the block. We're going to get there. It's a guarantee."
Florida drew even with a two-man advantage midway through the period, when Stephen Weiss redirected a rebound off the backboard past Marc Denis. The Panthers came in 0-for-25 on the power play through a span of eight games.
The Panthers' Nathan Horton made it 2-1, and teammate Jokinen scored with 59 seconds left in the period to extend the lead to two goals.
"We sensed their desperation in the third period," Weiss said. "They weren't Stanley Cup champions by fluke. They have some winners over there."
Denis started both previous home games against the Panthers, allowing only three goals in a pair of victories. Johan Holmqvist replaced him after two periods.
|Olli Jokinen's two goals give him six to go along with seven assists in the past five games. (AP)|
|Florida (32-30-14) «||0||3||2||5|
|Tampa Bay (41-32-4)||0||1||1||2|
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|04:54||Brad Richards (25), Tip-In - Assists: Jason Ward, Eric Perrin|
|10:05||Power Play - Stephen Weiss (20), Wrist Shot - Assists: Olli Jokinen, Ruslan Salei|
|13:00||Nathan Horton (29), Wrist Shot - Assists: Jay Bouwmeester, Bryan Allen|
|19:01||Olli Jokinen (37), Backhand Shot - Assists: Nathan Horton, Jay Bouwmeester|
|09:58||Short - Filip Kuba (13), Slap Shot - Assist: Martin St. Louis|
|19:09||Bryan Allen (3), Empty Net - Unassisted.|
|19:44||Nathan Horton (30), Empty Net - Assists: Olli Jokinen, Ruslan Salei|
|06:58||Horton: Hooking - 2 min.|
|09:04||Salei: Hooking - 2 min.|
|09:44||Bouwmeester: Cross Check - 2 min.|
|09:44||St. Louis: Slashing - 2 min.|
|11:02||Craig: Holding - 2 min.|
|08:18||Taylor: Hooking - 2 min.|
|09:19||Janik: Hooking - 2 min.|
|16:39||Kolnik: Holding - 2 min.|
|08:08||Janik: Tripping - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 18856|
|Referees - Tom Kowal, Brad Watson|
|Linesmen - Jonny Murray, Mark Pare|