THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
|Panthers ||Lightning |
|Record ||24-34-7 ||34-24-7 |
|Points ||55 ||75 |
|Place ||7th in Atlantic ||4th in Atlantic |
The Florida Panthers are in Tampa tonight taking on their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Things have been stormy in Tampa as the Bolts have gone winless in their last five games. Despite the losing streak, the Lightning still occupy the first Eastern Conference wildcard spot holding a four point cushion over the Red Wings and Devils, making tonight a perfect opportunity for the Cats to play spoiler over their Florida brethren.
Following tonight’s game, the Panthers will have a quick turnaround as they will be back at BB&T Center to face the Devils on Friday night.
Here is the Lowdown
What Do Tampa Fans Think About The Marty St. Louis Trade?
Young Gun Lead Pipe Lock Of the Night (Where I pick a Panthers ‘Young Gun’ to have a big game and give a totally legit reason to back up my prediction.)
The Pick: Jonathan Huberdeau
The Reason: The Panthers have had a tough time with the Lightning this season going 0-2-1 in their three meetings. Records are unimportant however as the only thing that matters is this tasty goal that Huberdeau scored against the Bolts back in October:
The Return of Stamkos
On March 6, Steven Stamkos made his return to the ice after sitting out since November with a broken right shin. The return was the most anticipated comeback since Dean Portman returned to the Ducks in D3: The Mighty Ducks.
Stamkos has been a handful for the Panthers this season as the newly appointed Lightning captain as he has put up six points (4-2-6) in his two appearances against the Cats.
An Inside Luuu-k
TB Players To Watch
# 9 Tyler Johnson
The Lightning have made a habit of finding and developing talented sub-5’10” forwards that went undrafted. Martin St. Louis (5'8”), Cory Conacher (5’8”, currently with the Sabres) and now rookie Tyler Johnson (5’9”) are all graduates of LSU (Lightning Shortstack University). The production of the 23-year-old Johnson (20-21-41) was a big reason why the Lightning felt they could live with trading St. Louis.
#18 Ondrej Palat
At just 22, Palat has developed into one of Tampa’s most productive forwards. With 42 points (17-25-42), he is second to Valtteri Filppula in the Lightning scoring race and he is currently one of the hottest players on the team with five points in his last two games (3-2-5).
The Panthers made a couple of roster moves yesterday calling up F Quinton Howden and D Alex Petrovic. Howden, 22, has scored 27 (10-17-27) points in 57 games in San Antonio this season while Petrovic, 22, has tallied 13 points (2-11-13) in 43 games.
The two youngsters were called up to fill out the Panthers’ suddenly dinged-up roster. With Jesse Winchester, Erik Gudbranson and Sean Bergenheim all out of the lineup tonight against the Bolts, there will be ample opportunity for Petrovic and Howden to shine.
That’s all for today, enjoy the game.