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Panthers, Lightning set to resume rivalry

by Deborah Francisco /

PANTHERS (11-19-6) at LIGHTNING (15-18-1)


Last 10: Florida 4-6-0, Tampa Bay 5-5-0

Season series: The Panthers are looking for their first win against the Lighting this season as they face off for the fourth of five times. Most recently, the Lightning prevailed 3-2 on March 12.

Big Story: The Lightning are fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and are coming off two straight wins as they face the Panthers, who will look to play spoiler.

Team Scope:

Panthers: The Panthers are looking for their third straight win after edging the Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday. Shawn Matthias tied the score with 27 seconds remaining in regulation and Dmitry Kulikov notched the overtime winner to give Florida the win. It was the Panthers’ first overtime victory of the season after five prior attempts.

"It feels good getting that (goal) and getting that win," Matthias said. "It never gets old beating that team. I like beating those guys."

Jacob Markstrom stopped 24 shots in his sixth start in seven games. The Panthers currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and have 12 games remaining.

Lightning: The Lightning boast a pair of victories and are looking for a third straight as they close out a three-game homestand. Tampa Bay bounced back from a pair of two-goal deficits in Jon Cooper’s coaching debut as they toppled the New Jersey Devils, 5-4, in a shootout.

Tampa Bay forced overtime when Alex Killorn tallied with 15 seconds left in regulation. Teddy Purcell notched the eventual shootout winner.

“It’s a wave of emotions,” Cooper said on earning his first win. “From 17 seconds left to 15 seconds left was unbelievable. It’s all like it happened in slow motion.”

The Lightning will be without forward Nate Thompson as he serves the first of a two-game suspension for an illegal check against the Devils on Friday.

Who's hot: Matthias leads the Panthers in goals (14) and has five in his past three games … Stamkos’ 25 goals are a League best. He boasts four goals and six points in his past three games.

Injury report: Florida forwards Jack Skille (upper body) and Eric Selleck (concussion) are questionable for Tuesday. Goaltender Jose Theodore is expected to miss the next 5-6 weeks with a torn right groin. … For the Lightning, B.J. Crombeen -- who signed a two-year extension Monday -- missed the last two games with a lower-body injury and his status for Tuesday is questionable. Forwards Ryan Malone (shoulder) and Vincent Lecavalier (foot) are on injured reserve.

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