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Florida
Panthers
28-35-15-4
Tampa Bay
Lightning
46-22-8-6

32 SOG
25 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
FLA
TBL
game preview

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Thursday, 04.01.2004 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

Panthers-Lightning Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (28-34-14-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (45-21-8-6).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won't be content with the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They're hungry for the Presidents' Trophy.

Trying to catch Detroit for the league's best record, the Lightning hope to avoid a letdown when they host the Florida Panthers at the St. Pete Times Forum.

After Detroit's 3-2 win over Columbus on Wednesday, the Lightning fell three points behind the Red Wings with just two games remaining. While it's still possible for Tampa Bay to finish with the most points in the NHL, the Lightning must first focus on clinching the top seed in the East for the first time in franchise history.

The Lightning hold a three-point lead over second-place Boston, which has three games remaining.

On Monday, Tampa Bay had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 5-4 overtime loss to Ottawa despite two late goals by Dave Andreychuk.

"We got a point, but it's still a loss," Lightning center Tim Taylor said. "Our goals aren't the Eastern Conference anymore. Our goals are the Presidents' Trophy and it looks with just getting a point tonight we won't be able to do it now."

The Lightning will close out the regular season at home Saturday against Atlanta

The Panthers are also coming off a 5-4 loss to the Senators on Wednesday. Olli Jokinen, Christian Berglund, Mike Van Ryn and Juraj Kolnik scored for Florida.

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 30 of 35 shots, setting an NHL single-season record for most shots faced with 2,443, breaking the mark of 2,438 set by Toronto s Felix Potvin in 1996-97.

STANDINGS: Panthers - 74 points, 4th place, 30 PB, Southeast Division. Lightning - 104 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Jokinen, 25 goals, 28 assists and 53 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 158 PIM. Lightning - Martin St. Louis, 35 goals, 56 assists and 91 points; Chris Dingman, 138 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 30): Panthers - Power play: 16.6 percent (49 for 296), 12th in NHL (tied). Penalty killing: 86.4 percent (312 for 361), 2nd. Lightning - Power play: 16.6 percent (55 for 331), 12th (tied). Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (228 for 269), 11th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (25-33-13, 7 SO, 2.37 GAA); Steve Shields (3-5-1, 0, 3.38). Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (28-18-7, 3, 2.33); John Grahame (17-9-1, 1, 2.03).

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 6; Lightning, 5-3. At Florida, Dmitry Afanasenkov, Andreychuk and Cory Stillman scored for Tampa Bay in the opening period, and Dan Boyle and Chris Dingman added goals in the second.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 12-19-8-1 on the road; Lightning - 23-9-4-3 at home.


Associated Press
2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 01 '04FLA 3 at TBL 4M. St. Louis
Mar 06 '04TBL 5 at FLA 3D. Boyle
Feb 14 '04FLA 2 at TBL 3M. St. Louis
Jan 17 '04TBL 1 at FLA 2O. Jokinen
Dec 31 '03FLA 2 at TBL 2 - OTM. Van Ryn
Nov 11 '03TBL 0 at FLA 4N. Hagman
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