Game 23 Preview: Florida Panthers Visit Tampa Bay Lightning

The Florida Panthers meet the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night for the fifth of six contests between the non-traditional hockey market neighbors this season.  Tampa Bay is 6-3-0 at the St. Pete Times Forum this season, while the Panthers boast a 7-4-0 road record.  Their seven road victories this season is tied for the most in the NHL.  The Cats close up thier homestand at 3-0-1, picking up seven out of a possible eight points in the standings.  The game in Tampa Bay starts a four game road trip which whill also see the Cats visit the Carolina Hurricanes, the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks.  The contest is the the second game of a back-to-back round-robin series between the two clubs.  Tthe Lightning will visit the Minnesota Wild for a game on Monday. 

The teams last met in Sunrise on November 25.  After a scoreless first period, the Panthers made it 1-0 on Tomas Fleischmann's 10th goal midway through the second.  The Lightning tied it up on Vincent Lecavalier's 10th goal of the season in the third period.  Steven Stamkos scored the game winner halfway through the extra frame with his 12th goal of the season.

Lightning @ Panthers 11/25/11 (via NHLVideo)


Season Series: 2-0-2

All-Time Series: 55-28-19

Game Time: 7:00 EST

Standings

Florida Panthers: 12-6-4, 28 points, first SE Division, second Eastern Conference, fifth NHL, on pace for 104 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning: 10-9-2, 22 points, third SE Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 22nd NHL, on pace for 86 points.

Lineup

The Panthers have had injury issues to several forwards. Mikael Samuellson is currently on the injured reserve, having yet to skate with the Cats. Scottie Upshall and Matt Bradley are also still out of commission. Marcel Goc is skating with the team, but is stil listed as doubtful with a head injury, Tomas Kopecky did not play last night.  Goalie Scott Clemmensen, is still listed as doubtful with "soreness".

Probable Starters

Goaltenders:

With Scott Clemmensen still listed as doubtful, Jacob Markstrom (2-2-1) will reportedly be taking the ice for the Panthers, with Jose Theodore (9-4-2) taking a well deserved break after five consecutive starts, (3-1-1) for the Cats.  Dwayne Roloson (6-6-1) should get his turn in the crease for the Lightning tonight.

Forwards:

 Florida:

1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Bergenheim - Santorelli - Skille

3. Sturm - Kennedy - Kopecky

4. Repik - Matthias - Dadonov

Tampa Bay:

1. Shannon - LeCavalier - St. Louis

2. Malone - Stamkos - Purcell

3. Connolly - Moore - Pyatt

4. Hall - Thompson - Tyrell

Defense:

Florida:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Gudbranson

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Tampa Bay:

1. Hedman - Brewer

2. Bergeron - Gilroy

3. Kubina - Clark

Common Thread:

Lightning center Dominic Moore played 48 games for the Cats in 2009-10, scoring eight goals, nine assists, a minus-seven rating and 35 penalty minutes.

Panthers winger Sean Bergenheim played in 80 games for the Lightning last season, scoring 14 goals and 15 assists while spending 56 minutes in the penalty box and finishing the season up with an even plus/minus rating.

Team Milestones:

Panthers:

Ed Jovanovski's next goal will be his 32nd, which will move him into a tie for 32nd with Richard Zednik. His next assist will give him 58 with the Panthers, tying him with Paul Laus, in 30th.

Mike Santorelli's next goal will be number 24 as a Panther, moving him into a tie with Dave Gagner in 45th place all-time.

Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 48 for his career, moving him into a tie for 39th with Keith Ballard.

With Stephen Weiss' assist last night, he moved past Scott Mellanby into second place, all-time, with 355.

Lightning:

Martin St. Louis' next goal will be his 300th as a member of the Lightning.

Ryan Malone's next goal will give him 66, moving him into a tie for 14th all-time with Dan Boyle.  His next assist will tie him with Alex Selimanov in 14th with 77.

Teddy Purcell's next goal makes number 26, moving him into a tie with Jeff Halpern in 36th for Tampa Bay.  His next assist will give him 48, moving him past Filip Kuba into 28th all-time.

Victor Hedman's next assist will be his 40th with the Bolts, moving him into a tie with Mark Bureau in 35th.

Dominic Moore's next goal gives him 20 as a member of the Lightning, moving him into a tie for 47th with Mikael Renberg.

With last night's goal, Steven Stamkos' moves past Dan Boyle into eighth place all-time, with 253 points.

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Panthers:

Kris Versteeg - 12

Tomas Fleischmann - 10

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 8

Lightning:

Steven Stamkos - 12

Vincent LeCavalier - 10

Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis - 5

Assists:

Panthers:

Brian Campbell - 17

Dmitry Kulikov, Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss - 14

Lightning:

Marc-Andre Bergeron - 15

Martin St. Louis - 13

Steven Stamkos - 9

Points:

Panthers:

Kris Versteeg - 26

Tomas Fleischmann - 23

Stephen Weiss - 22

Lightning:

Steven Stamkos - 21

Marc-Andre Bergeron, Martin St. Louis - 18

Plus/Minus:

Panthers:

Fleischmann - plus-16

Weiss - plus-15

Versteeg - plus-14

Lightning:

St. Louis - plus-6

Gilroy, Stamkos - plus-5

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