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Florida rivals face off as Lightning host Panthers

by Staff /

PANTHERS (1-2-0) at LIGHTNING (2-1-0)


Season series: The rivals met five times last season, with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the first three games and the Florida Panthers taking the next two. Tomas Fleischmann had three goals and four points for the Panthers, while Martin St. Louis (eight points) and Steven Stamkos (six points) paced the Lightning.

Big story: After a three-game road trip to start the season, the Lightning will look to improve on their early success as they begin a season-long seven-game homestand.

Team Scope:

Panthers: Tim Thomas was brought in to try and solve the Panthers' goaltending woes, but three games into the season, it hasn't quite worked out.

After allowing five goals and getting pulled on Saturday in a 7-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues, he stopped three of five shots in eight minutes of action Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers before leaving the game with a groin injury. The Panthers lost 2-1.

Coach Kevin Dineen said Thomas would be re-evaluated and there is a chance he may not play. Scott Clemmensen, who had knee surgery two weeks ago, could be called up from the American Hockey League. Dineen was also hopeful the Panthers can turn around their lack of offense.

"There's always different ways to look at a game. At the end of it, we're not displeased with the way we played but you don't win the game and we need to find a way to finish those off and turn those momentum pushes into some offense and eventually that turns into points," Dineen said.

Lightning: Alex Killorn scored in overtime as the Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Tuesday, The Lightning came back from a pair of one-goal deficits, the second game in a row they had a third-period comeback before winning after regulation.

That gave the Lightning a 2-1 road trip as they now head to Tampa Bay to face the Panthers, before home contests with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins -- the final four teams from last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

"We wanted to come out here and get more points than games played. We did that, so we're happy with ourselves," coach Jon Cooper told the team's website after the game.

Who's hot: Ben Bishop has stopped 58 of 62 shots he's faced for the Lightning this season, en route to a 2-0 record with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. … Brian Campbell has assisted on three of the Panthers' five goals this season.

Injury report: Thomas is questionable after leaving Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury. The Panthers will also be missing wings Steven Pinizzotto (hip) and Sean Bergenheim (hip), center Nick Bjugstad (concussion) and defenseman Ed Jovanovski (hip), who are all on injured reserve. … The Lightning are without defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Brian Lee, both on IR after knee surgery, and winger Tom Pyatt, who broke his collarbone in Tuesday's win.

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