Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers @NHLdotcom
Lightning-Panthers Preview

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-0-2) at Florida Panthers (1-0-0-2).

TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

After finally raising their 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship banner with a season-opening win, the Tampa Bay Lightning will hit the road when they make a short trip to take on the Florida Panthers.

The banner was raised to the rafters Wednesday night before the Lightning posted a 5-2 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

Despite enjoying the festivities, Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella wants to make sure his team moves on to the task at hand.

"This is the last time I speak on it, so don't even ask me any more questions," said Tortorella of the 10-minute pregame ceremony in which players, coaches and key members of the front office were introduced individually.

"I'm glad they finally had their opportunity (to celebrate). It was a very emotional time, but now it's time to play."

Vaclav Prospal scored on the Lightning's first shot and assisted on goals by Dan Boyle and Vincent Lecavalier to help Tampa Bay build a 4-2 lead.

Brad Richards and Tim Taylor also scored for the Lightning, and John Grahame stopped 24 shots in his first test since the departure of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks during the summer.

Florida goalie Roberto Luongo showed no rust from his long break from NHL play Wednesday as made 34 saves for his 24th career shutout in a 2-0 win over Atlanta.

Luongo, who had seven shutouts and a league-record 2,303 saves in 2003-04, made 10 stops during a five-minute short-handed stretch during the third period, protecting a 1-0 lead to make sure coach Jacques Martin's debut on the Panthers' bench was a successful one.

"He's the best goalie in the league right now," Panthers captain Olli Jokinen said of Luongo. "He's been top-three in the past few years and he showed everyone tonight that he's the top one. With a goalie like him, we have a chance to win every night. And finally, he's got a team in front of him that can win the games."

Martin became the seventh straight Panthers coach to win his debut.

"Goaltending is a key in this business," Martin said. "And a lot of times you're going to win with goaltending and specialty teams. If you win the specialty team part of a game, you really give yourself a great chance."

STANDINGS (through Oct. 5): Lightning - 5 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Panthers - 2 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS - Five players, 1 goal; Prospal, Ruslan Fedotenko and Dave Andreychuk, 2 assists; Prospal, 3 points; Taylor, Nolan Pratt, Timo Helbling and Chris Dingman, 2 PIM. - Lukas Krajicek and Nathan Horton, 1 goals; Jokinen and Kristian Huselius, 1 assists; Lukas Krajicek, Nathan Horton, Jokinen and Huselius, 1 points; Branislav Mezei, 15 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 5): Lightning - Power play: 16.7 percent (1 for 6), tied for 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 100 percent (3 for 3), tied for 1st. Panthers - Power play: 12.5 percent (1 for 8), tied for 15th. Penalty killing: 100 percent (6 for 6), tied for 1st.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Grahame (1-0-0, 0 SO, 2.00 GAA); Sean Burke (0-0-0, 0.00 GAA). Panthers - Luongo (1-0-0, 1, 0.00); Jamie McLennan (0-0-0, 0.00 GAA).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 3-2-1.

LAST MEETING: April 1, 2004; Lightning, 4-3. At Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis scored twice in the third period to lift the Lightning.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 1-0-0-0 on the road; Panthers - 0-0-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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.