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Nuts & Bolts: Another home opener vs. the Cats

This will be the third-straight year Tampa Bay has opened the season at home vs. the Panthers

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

After closing out the preseason with three-straight games, the Lightning and Panthers meet at Amalie Arena once again on Opening Night. 

Lines from Wednesday's practice. Subject to change.

Forwards
Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Pat Maroon - Gemel Smith - Luke Witkowski
Carter Verhaeghe - Yanni Gourde - Mathieu Joseph

Defensemen
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Goaltenders
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Thursday's Matchup
Tampa Bay opens the 2019-20 NHL season by hosting the Florida Panthers at AMALIE Arena...The Lightning begin the season against the Panthers for the third-consecutive year (2-0-0 in previous two matchups vs. FLA) and fourth time in the last six years (3-0-0)...The Bolts open the season against Florida for the sixth time in franchise history and are 4-1-0 in previous matchups, the Lightning defeating the Panthers in 2018 (2-1 S/O at home), 2017 (5-3 at home), 2014 (3-2 OT at home) and 2002 (4-3 OT at Florida) and falling to the Panthers in 1998 (1-4 at Florida)...The Bolts outlasted the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout in last season's opener, J.T. Miller netting the game-deciding goal in the first round of the shootout and Nikita Kucherov sealing the victory with his third round conversion...Andrei Vasilevskiy made 42-of-43 saves (3rd-most saves of 2018-19 season) and stopped both of Florida's shootout attempts for the first of his NHL-best 39 wins in 2018-19...Anthony Cirelli scored shorthanded at 10:45 of the third period to tie the game after Jacob MacDonald put the Panthers on the board first at 5:58 of the opening period...Tampa Bay swept the four-game season series from Florida in 2017-18, two of the four wins decided in overtime or a shootout...Nikita Kucherov paced the Bolts for goals (4) and scoring (9 pts.) in last season's series with Florida... Steven Stamkos chipped in 2-5--7 in the 4 wins...Louis Domingue started 3 of the 4 games last season against Florida and made 88 stops on 97 shots (.903 save % and 2.95 GAA)...The Lightning have won six in a row over Florida and are 8-1-1 against the Panthers in the last 10 meetings.

Thursday's Storylines
The Lightning are opening the regular season at home for the sixth-consecutive year and are 5-0-0 so far in those contests...Tampa Bay's five-game win streak in season-opening contests is tied with VAN for the longest active win streak in such contests...With a win tonight, the Lightning can become the 11th team in NHL history to win at least six consecutive season openers and first since SJS (2010-11 to 2016-17)...The Bolts have won 8 of their last 9 season openers...Tampa Bay owns the NHL's all-time best points percentage in season-opening contests (17-7-0 with 2 ties, .692)...The Lightning are 13-3-0 with two ties -- including seven wins in a row -- when opening the season at home, its .778 points percentage in those situations third best in the NHL...The Bolts are 16-7-2 with one tie all-time in home openers and have won seven-consecutive home openers.

Injuries
2019-20 Regular Season Man Games Lost: 0
Current injuries:
Cedric Paquette (Upper Body; Week-to-Week)
Brayden Point (Hip surgery; Out)

They Said It
Tweet from @BBurnsNHL: Cooper said Tyler Johnson and Victor Hedman are both good to go for opening night. #Bolts

Parking Info
For the 2019-20 season, pre-purchased Tampa Bay Lightning parking passes will be handled by our preferred parking vendor, Park Whiz. The decision to move to Park Whiz was made to provide our STMs with a higher level of service and accessibility when it comes to parking.

Additional information on your options for the upcoming season can be found below. Please note that season pass options are very limited and may sell out quickly.

Construction on the Water Street neighborhood, adjacent to AMALIE Arena, will continue to accelerate into 2020. Please allow a little extra time to navigate your way through downtown for each home game. We strongly encourage all fans to secure pre-paid parking in advance of their games.

Having trouble creating your account or purchasing your pass? Please call or text ParkWhiz Customer Support at 888-472-7594 or via email at help@parkwhiz.com.

Visit TampaBayLightning.com/parking for more information. 

Tampa Bay Sports Item of the Game
Limited Edition Opening Night Puck
Get your Limited Edition 2019 Opening Game Collector's Puck. Available at all Tampa Bay Sports locations and online at TampaBaySports.com while supplies last.

The Road Ahead
Saturday, October 5 at Florida Panthers
Sunday, October 6 at Carolina Hurricanes
Thursday, October 10 at Toronto Maple Leafs

Want more info and live score updates? Click here to subscribe to the 2019-20 Game Day Guide email list. 

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