Bouwmeester scored with nine minutes left in the third period to break a tie and Alex Auld made 21 saves as the Florida Panthers beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Friday night, the Lightning’s third straight loss.
Bouwmeester’s power-play goal gave Florida a 3-2 lead. His shot from just inside the blue line above the right circle slid past Johan Holmqvist, who was screened on the play.
“It was right off a faceoff and I just tried to get it on the net and see what happens,” Bouwmeester said. “It went in, so that’s good.”
The power play came after Holmqvist was called for delay of game after he played the puck in the restricted zone.
“It’s a bad play, it cost us the game,” Holmqvist said. “I know the rule and I realized I was very close to the line. I gave it a good release. I guess I wasn’t quick enough.”
Juraj Kolnik and Nathan Horton also scored for Florida, which has won seven of its last eight home games against the Lightning. Olli Jokinen had two assists for the Panthers.
Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Clark scored for Tampa Bay and Holmqvist had 24 saves.
The Lightning are 1-for-27 on the power play this season, including 0-for-20 over the last three games.
“We have to get that going,” forward Martin St. Louis said. “It’s costing us games. It’s frustrating but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Clark tied the game to-all in the second period when he scored while on his side. Nikita Alexeev passed to Clark in front, who fell on his left side but was able to sweep the loose puck into the net.
Horton gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead when he took a pass from Jokinen in front and poked the puck past a diving Holmqvist at 19:11 of the first.
Kolnik tied the score at one when he one-timed a pass from Martin Gelinas at 14:34.
Tampa Bay scored on its first shot on goal when Lecavalier beat Auld high on the glove side from the top of the right circle.
“Both goalies played well but we were able to get that power-play goal at the end and that was enough,” Jokinen said. “Auld was good again. He made some really nice saves at the end.”
Florida is 3-0 at home for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Notes: Florida C Joe Nieuwendyk missed his second straight game due to a strained hip flexor. He plans to return to the lineup on Wednesday at Washington. … The Lightning have scored just seven goals through their first four games. … In honour of Friday the 13th, when Kolnik, Florida’s No. 13, scored a goal all fans with a ticket stub became eligible for 13 free wings at a local restaurant.