The Lightning have picked up four points since the NHL stopped for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and one thing is certain for Tampa Bay.
"We're running out of games," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Calling the game against the Panthers "a pivotal one," Cooper said he doesn't expect it to be easy.
"Florida, realistically, won't make the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], but look at their starting lineup tonight compared to the team we play on Oct. 27 (a 4-3 shootout win). I think there are eight different forwards playing," Cooper said. "But the guys that are playing are fighting for contracts and for jobs, not only for this year but for next year. These guys will be flying; they are hungry hockey players. As hungry as we are, wanting to stay in our playoff spot, these guys are hungry because they want to make sure they are on the Florida Panthers next year. The battle level will be intense."