Martin St. Louis Scores A Hat Trick In His 900th Game, Tampa Bay Shoots Down Florida, 6-3

After a recent five game win streak, (and still current six game point streak), the Lightning are poised for a recovery, and the Panthers cling to a Southeast Division lead.

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Martin St. Louis Scores A Hat Trick In His 900th Game As Tampa Bay Shoots Down Florida, 6-3

It's the Battle of Florida between the Bolts and the Cats tonight. The teams take the ice to finish up their season series. Each team has collected six points so far, and tonight will prove to be the tiebreaker. It is Martin St. Louis' 900th career game.

First Period:

Just 1:37 into the game the Lightning opened up the scoring when Nate Thompson pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and put it through Scott Clemmensen's five hole, unassisted for his seventh goal of the season.

At the four minute mark, Tomas Fleischmann provided Florida with the equalizer for his 17th goal of the season on a nifty spin pass from Kris Versteeg to beat Mathieu Garon five-hole. Mike Weaver also earned an assist on the play.

Tampa Bay would get the first power play of the evening with three minutes left in the period when Stephen Weiss tripped Pavel Kubina. The Cats were killing it off when Steve Downie made it four-on-four, followed by a nearly full power play by hooking Matt Bradley. The Panthers were also unable to capitalize, and the teams took the locker room with 24 seconds remaining on the Panther's man advantage.

Second Period:

After killing off the penalty, the Lightning again took the lead on Vincent LeCavalier's 20th goal of the season at the two minute mark unassisted.

Martin St. Louis doubled the lead three minutes later by slinging the puck wide of Scott Clemmensen's stick for his 14th goal of the season. Ryan Shannon and Vincent LeCavalier assisted on the play.

Seven minutes in the Panthers cut into the Bolts lead as Mikael Samuellson gathered a rebound off of a Sean Bergenheim shot and beat an out of position Mathieu Garon for his sixth goal of the season.

Steven Stamkos stuffed his 34th goal of the season home with some perfect puck movement by Bolts Steve Downie and Victor Hedman in the Florida zone. The two set up Stamkos in front of the net with one man to beat. After a Clemmensen save he quickly stuffed it home to extend the lead back to two.

St. Louis scored his second goal of the period with five minutes remaining to put the Bolts on top, 5-2. St. Louis gathered a LeCavalier shot that went wide and tucked it past Clemmensen's left side. Ryan Shannon was also awarded an assist on the play, his second of the night. At this point, the Panthers pulled Clemmensen for rookie Brian Foster, who would see his first NHL action under less than optimal circumstances.

Sean Bergenheim cut back into the Tampa Bay lead with 45 seconds left in the period, breaking into the Lightning zone uncontested and beating Garon for his ninth goal of the season.

Third Period:

The Panthers went back on the power play at the four minute mark when Victor Hedman was called for hooking Tomas Fleischmann. Florida kept it in the Bolts zone for the first 1:48 of the power play, but Tampa Bay killed it anyway with good defensive positioning and shot blocking.

The Bolts had their chance to pull away at the eight minute mark when Sean Bergenheim was called for tripping Victor Hedman in the Florida zone. Aggressive forechecking by Stephen Weiss almost got the Cats a shorthanded chance. The Panthers cleared the puck out five times while allowing two shots on goal.

Florida went on the power play with three minutes to go when Tom Pyatt hooked Kris Versteeg. Kevin Dineen pulled the goalie so the Cats could have an extended six-on-four. It wasn't enough, and Versteeg would take a tripping penalty with two minutes to go.

Shorthanded, tired from the back-to-back, and out of time, the Panthers assaulted the Tampa Bay net, but Garon kept them off the scoreboard.

With 20.8 seconds left, St. Louis added his third goal of the night into an empty net for the hat trick. Assists were awarded to Steven Stamkos and Vincent LeCavalier.

Hits: Lightning, 26-19 (Eric Brewer led all skaters with five, while Keaton Ellerby and Erik Gudbranson collected three for the Panthers).

Blocked Shots:
Lightning, 22-12 (Victor Hedman had five for the Lightning, Jason Garrison paced the Cats with four).

Faceoffs: Lightning, 27-23 (Nate Thompson went six-for-seven, Vincent LeCavalier was seven-for-12, and Steven Stamkos seven-for-18. Florida was led by John Madden, who won nine-of-12. Stephen Weiss won a disappointing four-of-15).

Shots on Goal:
Lightning, 34-20 (Steven Stamkos led the Lightning with six, Mikael Samuelsson the Panthers with four).

Score: Lightning 6, Panthers 3

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Six Goals In Wild Second Period Lead To A Tampa Bay 5-3 Lead Over Florida

Second Period:

After killing off the penalty, the Lightning again took the lead on Vincent LeCavalier's 20th goal of the season at the two minute mark unassisted.

Martin St. Louis doubled the lead three minutes later by slinging the puck wide of Scott Clemmensen's stick for his 14th goal of the season. Ryan Shannon and Vincent LeCavalier assisted on the play.

Seven minutes in the Panthers cut into the Bolts lead as Mikael Samuellson gathered a rebound off of a Sean Bergenheim shot and beat an out of position Mathieu Garon for his sixth goal of the season.

Steven Stamkos stuffed his 34th goal of the season home with some perfect puck movement by Bolts Steve Downie and Victor Hedman in the Florida zone. The two set up Stamkos in front of the net with one man to beat. After a Clemmensen save he quickly stuffed it home to extend the lead back to two.

St. Louis scored his second goal of the period with five minutes remaining to put the Bolts on top, 5-2. St. Louis gathered a LeCavalier shot that went wide and tucked it past Clemmensen's left side. Ryan Shannon was also awarded an assist on the play, his second of the night. At this point, the Panthers pulled Clemmensen for rookie Brian Foster, who would see his first NHL action under less than optimal circumstances.

Sean Bergenheim cut back into the Tampa Bay lead with 45 seconds left in the period, breaking into the Lightning zone uncontested and beating Garon for his ninth goal of the season.

Hits: Lightning, 14-12

Blocked Shots: Lightning, 13-12

Faceoffs: Panthers, 20-18

Shots on Goal: Lightning, 26-14

Score:
Lightning 5, Panthers 3

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Florida Panthers And Tampa Bay Lightning Even At One After First Period

It's the Battle of Florida between the Bolts and the Cats tonight. The teams take the ice to finish up their season series. Each team has collected six points so far, and tonight will prove to be the tiebreaker. It is Martin St. Louis' 900th career game.

First Period:

Just 1:37 into the game the Lightning opened up the scoring when Nate Thompson pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and put it through Scott Clemmensen's five hole, unassisted for his seventh goal of the season.

At the four minute mark, Tomas Fleischmann provided Florida with the equalizer for his 17th goal of the season on a nifty spin pass from Kris Versteeg to beat Mathieu Garon five-hole. Mike Weaver also earned an assist on the play.

Tampa Bay would get the first power play of the evening with three minutes left in the period when Stephen Weiss tripped Pavel Kubina. The Cats were killing it off when Steve Downie made it four-on-four, followed by a nearly full power play by hooking Matt Bradley. The Panthers were also unable to capitalize, and the teams took the locker room with 24 seconds remaining on the Panther's man advantage.

Hits: Lightning, 7-6

Blocked Shots:
Lightning, 8-6

Faceoffs: Lightning, 10-7

Shots on Goal: Lightning, 9-7

Score:
Panthers 1, Lightning 1

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Florida Panthers Visit Tampa Bay Lightning: Starting Lineups And Injury Report

Tonight Florida has a chance to make it three in a row, a feat they have been unable to accomplish since dispatching the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins near the beginning of December. Meanwhile the Lightning look to gain the .500 plateau, a mark that has eluded them since a three game home winning streak culminating in a New Years Eve victory against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Florida Panthers:

Injuries:

Ed Jovanovski will miss two months with hand surgery rehab. Scottie Upshall had sports hernia surgery on February 2 and is expected back near the middle of March. Jacob Markstrom had knee surgery and may be back next month. Dmitry Kulikov had knee surgery on Jan. 23 and is also out until March. Jack Skille has missed the past two games with his shoulder problem and may be back in the lineup next week. Marco Sturm, recently returned from a concussion, is back on the IR with a lower body injury.

Starting Lineup:

Forwards:

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg

Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson

Mike Santorelli - Shawn Matthias - Tomas Kopecky

Matt Bradley - John Madden - Krys Barch

Defensemen:

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Mike Weaver - Jason Garrison

Tyson Strachan - Keaton Ellerby

Goalie:

Scott Clemmensen (8-2-5) is listed as first on the depth chart, but played last night. Brian Foster may get the start, but there is no word either way.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Injuries:

Mattias Ohlund underwent arthroscopic surgery on both his knees early in the season, and isn't expected to play this year. Adam Hall hurt his arm in a fight with Ottawa's Matt Carkner about one month ago. He may return in two to four weeks. Marc-Andre Bergeron is out with an upper body injury since being scratched on Jan. 13 in Washington. Dana Tyrell tore his right ACL and is expected to return at the start of training camp in September. Ryan Malone is day to day with an upper body injury

Starting Lineup:

Forwards:

Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell

Tom Pyatt - Vincent LeCavalier - Martin St. Louis

Nate Thompson - Dominic Moore - J.T. Wyman

Brett Connolly - Matt Gilroy - Ryan Shannon

Defensemen:

Eric Brewer - Pavel Kubina

Victor Hedman - Brett Clark

Bruno Gervais - Brendan Mikkelson

Goalie:

Mathieu Garon will get the start tonight.

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Florida Panthers Visit Tampa Bay Lightning: Facts And Figures

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:

Florida:

Goals: Kris Versteeg and Jason Garrison both have 20 goals and are currently tied for 49th all-time on the Panthers list. Brett McLean is in 48th, with 21. Shawn Matthias has 24 career Panther goals, one more and he will move into a tie with Mike Van Ryn in 45th. Mike Santorelli has 26, and his next will move him into a tie for 42nd with Gary Roberts.

Tampa Bay:

Games: Nate Thompson plays in his 156th Tampa Bay game tonight, moving him into a tie for 47th with Filip Kuba. Steve Downie plays in Lightning game number 207, moving him past Marc Bergevin into 32nd.

Goals: Dominic Moore sits at 43rd all-time, with 22. His next goal moves him into a tie with Shawn Chambers, in 41st. Teddy Purcell's next goal will move him into a tie for 25th, with 34 with John Cullen. Ryan Malone's next goal will be number 72, moving him into a 12th place tie with Pavel Kubina.

Assists: Teddy Purcell's next assist will be number 56, passing Cory Stillman into 26th. Steve Downie will tie Shawn Chambers in 23rd with his 64th assist.

Points: Dominic Moore's next point will give him 52, tying him with Brian Bellows in 49th. Victor Hedman will tie Mike Sillinger with his 54th point in 45th.

Team Leaders:

Florida:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 20

Tomas Fleischmann - 16

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 13

Assists:

Brian Campbell - 34

Stephen Weiss - 25

Kris Versteeg - 24

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 44

Stephen Weiss - 38

Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell - 37

+/-:

Stephen Weiss - plus-10

Kris Versteeg - plus-9

Jason Garrison - plus-6

Tampa Bay:

Goals:

Steven Stamkos - 33

Vincent LeCavalier - 19

Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell - 13

Assists:

Martin St. Louis - 33

Steven Stamkos - 22

Vincent LeCavalier - 21

Points:

Steven Stamkos - 55

Martin St. Louis - 46

Vincent LeCavalier - 40

+/-:

Marc-Andre Bergeron - plus-8

Teddy Purcell - plus-5

Trevor Smith - plus-4

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Florida Panthers Visit Tampa Bay Lightning: Game 51 Preview

After a recent five game win streak, (and still current six game point streak), the Lightning are poised for a recovery, and the Panthers cling to a Southeast Division lead.

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