Faith pays off in Tampa Bay Lightning's shootout win

TAMPA — Adam Hall won a shootout contest at the end of a practice last week in Pittsburgh. Evgeny Artyukhin played with focus and grit and scored earlier. Jussi Jokinen, who had been placed on waivers a few days before and worked harder as a result, scored three goals in breakaway practice that morning.

Therein coach Rick Tocchet found the bulk of his lineup for Friday's shootout against the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. His faith yielded goals from Hall and Jokinen, a victory (on Ryan Malone's fourth-round conversion) and an injection of confidence for three bit players.

Tocchet told assistant coach Wes Walz in Pittsburgh that Hall would not only be used in the next shootout, but go first.

"Walz was like, 'You won't have the (gumption) to put him in,' " Tocchet said, laughing. "I go, 'Watch.' "

Tocchet said the shootout's opening lineup will remain the same for now.

"Obviously, you're excited that the coaches have some faith in you," said Hall, now 1-for-3 lifetime in shootouts.

Jokinen, who was 1-for-7 this season before his goal, was literally chuckling he was so happy to have contributed.

"I've been pretty bad this season in shootouts, so it feels good they still have belief in me," he said. "I was happy to be in there."

ARTY ON: Artyukhin's moment of glory, and second goal of the season, was actually set up by a mistake.

The pass from Malone that he gathered and flipped into the net off the backhand was actually intended for C Steven Stamkos, who was further ahead of the rush.

"It hit me in the leg, so the defenseman tried to hit the puck," Artyukhin said. "So then I shot at the five-hole."

ODDS AND ENDS: G Olaf Kolzig said though he is "feeling good," his timetable to return from an upper-body injury is unknown after aggravating it last week in Atlanta. … The Lightning also scratched D Lukas Krajicek (upper body), who was replaced by emergency recall Matt Smaby, and C Ryan Craig (healthy). Florida scratched RW Anthony Stewart (healthy) and D Jassen Cullimore (wrist).

Faith pays off in Tampa Bay Lightning's shootout win 12/27/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 28, 2008 6:57am]

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