Skip to main content

Panthers, Lightning set for showdown in Tampa Bay

by Brian Compton
PANTHERS (18-20-8) at LIGHTNING (18-17-10)

Last 10: Florida 3-6-1; Tampa Bay 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is just the second of six meetings between the Southeast Division rivals. Tampa Bay earned a 3-2 victory against Florida at the St. Pete Times Forum on Oct. 12. Ryan Malone scored the game-winning goal.

Big Story: The interstate rivals seem to be headed in opposite directions. While Florida managed to pick up a point on Wednesday night, it has just three wins in its last 10 games. Meanwhile, the Lightning have tallied points seven times in that same span.

Team Scope:

Panthers: A three-goal lead wasn't enough for Florida on Wednesday, as the Washington Capitals rallied for a 5-4 shootout victory at the BankAtlantic Center. Florida chased goalie Michal Neuvirth and held a 4-1 edge midway through the second, but it was enough to prevent Florida from losing to the Caps for a third straight time.

''We have to learn how to win games,'' Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. ''We do a lot of things right on a lot of nights, but this is a game that is about wins and losses and we aren't good at closing teams out or doing what it takes to finish teams off.''

Lightning: Tampa Bay didn't have much of a problem against Washington on Tuesday night, as Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist and Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists in a 7-4 win at the St. Pete Times Forum. Just like the Panthers, the Lightning chased Neuvirth, scoring four times on 15 shots.

"It was definitely exciting for everyone who got a chance to see that. Lots of goals, lots of feistiness, lots of hits and fights … it was a good effort for us tonight," Stamkos said. "We'll take the win, especially against those guys."

Who's Hot: Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist on Wednesday. He now has 19 tallies and 22 assists this season. … St. Louis has notched at least a point in 11 consecutive games for the Lightning.

Injury Report: Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (knee) and forward David Booth (concussion) are expected to return later this month, while Kenndal McArdle (shoulder) is likely to miss another 2-3 weeks. … Lightning forward Todd Fedoruk (lower body) is expected to miss two weeks, while Matt Smaby (upper body) is out indefinitely.

Stat Pack: Stamkos, a second-year pro, has already passed his season output from last season with 25 goals to lead the team. He had 23 as a rookie in 2008-09. The No. 1 pick from the 2008 NHL Entry Draft also has 22 assists through 45 games.

Puck Drop: "Every game is important for us now. The Eastern Conference is so tight that we can't afford to lose lots of games, and especially against this team, it's a big confidence booster." -- Steven Stamkos after Tuesday's 7-4 win against Washington

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.