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Panthers aim to bounce back against Lightning

by Brian Compton /
LIGHTNING (7-3-0) at PANTHERS (3-7-1)


Last 10:
Florida 2-7-1

Season series: This is the second of four meetings between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. The Lightning earned a 7-2 victory against Florida on Oct. 10 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Big story: Tampa Bay plays its second game in as many nights after rallying in the third period to beat the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. Sunday marks the fifth of the Panthers’ six-game homestand. They are 0-2-2 thus far.

Team Scope:

Trailing 2-1 late in the third period, Tampa Bay got goals from Martin St. Louis and Ondrej Palat 1:46 apart to lift the Lightning to a 3-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres to finish its seven-game homestand with a record of 5-2-0.

"Again, it was big-time players making big-time plays when we needed them," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That pass [Steven] Stamkos makes to Marty, and then the kids went to work. That was 100 percent a blue-collar, work-ethic goal and they deserved every ounce of that. It was great to see."

Panthers: Florida is also coming off a game against the Sabres, although the Panthers weren’t as fortunate as the Lightning.

Florida was frustrated by Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth, who made 44 saves and handed the Panthers a 3-1 loss at BB&T Center on Friday night. Jesse Winchester scored Florida’s lone goal. The Panthers have been held to two goals or less in each of their past four games.

"Whatever hockey gods are out there, they're definitely not shining on us right now with our bounces," Panthers right wing Kris Versteeg said. "I really have no answers. The effort is there and we're putting pucks at the net. For whatever reason, it's not going in. We had a great effort tonight. Hopefully, something turns around. I think with the guys we have in this room, it can turn around, but we definitely need some bounces or something because it's a little disheartening for everyone in this room."

Who's hot: Stamkos has two goals and three assists over the past two games and St. Louis has scored in back-to-back games for Tampa Bay. … Winchester has two goals and an assist over the past five games for Florida.

Injury report: Lightning forward Tom Pyatt (shoulder) is out. … Panthers goalie Tim Thomas will not play due to a lower-body injury. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski (hip) and forwards Steven Pinizzotto (hip) and Sean Bergenheim (hip/abdomen) are also out.
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