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Lightning at Panthers preview

Boughner looks for first win as Florida coach; Tampa Bay tries for home-and-home sweep

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

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

7 p.m. ET; FS-F, SUN, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Bob Boughner will be looking for his first win as Florida Panthers coach when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning at BB&T Center on Saturday in the second half of a home-and-home set.

Boughner, who was hired on June 12, lost his coaching debut when the Lightning defeated the Panthers 5-3 at Amalie Arena on Friday.

Florida has won six of its past seven home openers, including victories against Tampa Bay in 2011 (6-0) and 2012 (3-2 in a shootout).

Roberto Luongo, who started for the Panthers and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who started for the Lightning, each could be a backup with two games in two nights.

Steven Stamkos, playing his first NHL regular-season game since Nov. 15, when he sustained a season-ending knee injury, had an assist Friday.

 

Players to watch

Jonathan Huberdeau's goal Friday gave him 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 20 career games against the Lightning.

Ondrej Palat had two goals Friday and has 16 points since March 23, the second-highest regular-season total in the NHL during that span behind Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (18).

 

They said it

"I thought for the most part we carried the play. It was encouraging to watch and hopefully we can build off of it even though we didn't get any points." -- Luongo on the game Friday

"You always find that first back-to-back is always tough. So it's good to be able to get that out of the way right away. It's good, you don't have to worry about it and it gears you up for the season." -- Lightning forward Ryan Callahan on opening the season with games on consecutive days

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Jamie McGinn -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata

Connor Brickley -- Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad

Micheal Haley -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Ian McCoshen -- Alex Petrovic

James Reimer

Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Owen Tippett, MacKenzie Weegar

Injured: None

 

Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Ryan Callahan

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Yanni Gourde

Chris Kunitz -- Cedric Paquette -- Gabriel Dumont

Victor Hedman -- Dan Girardi

Mikhail Sergachev -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Peter Budaj

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: J.T. Brown, Slater Koekkoek, Jake Dotchin

Injured: Michael Bournival (undisclosed), Erik Condra (back)

 

Status report

The Panthers did not have a morning skate. … After practicing with Hedman in the week leading up to the regular season opener, Dotchin was a healthy scratch Friday. He was kept out of all but one game in the preseason after violating an unspecified team rule. ... With Tampa Bay opening the season with three games in four nights, Budaj could start Saturday. ... Luongo did not start back-to-back games last season, so Reimer likely will start. … Tippett, the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, was a healthy scratch Friday, and it is unclear when he will make his NHL debut.

 

Stat pack

Florida has defeated Tampa Bay in each of their past four games at BB&T Center, with the Lightning scoring a total of four goals in those four games. … Reimer was tied for third in the NHL in save percentage (.926) after Dec. 1 last season among goalies who played at least 30 games.

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