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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, February 28th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (22-27-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (32-22-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning try to carry momentum across the Olympic break tonight when they welcome the Florida Panthers to the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Bolts won five of their last six games before the hiatus and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with 68 points -- two ahead of the No. 7 New Jersey Devils. Tampa is seven back of the fifth-place Philadelphia Flyers.

It will be interesting to see how the Lightning come back from the Olympic break, as eight key players represented their countries in Torino. The player with the least amount of rest is forward Fredrik Modin, who is fresh off Sunday's gold medal win over Finland.

The Lightning's Southeast Division hopes are all but gone, as they trail first-place Carolina by 14 points in the standings.

Tampa begins a three-game homestand tonight.

Florida, meanwhile, on the fringe of the East playoff race, sitting eight points behind the eighth-place Montreal Canadiens. The Panthers lost seven of their final 11 games before the Olympic break.

Florida sent five players to Torino, including silver medalist and Panthers captain Olli Jokinen. Rotislav Olesz, Jozef Stumpel, Jay Bouwmeester and Roberto Luongo also represented their countries.

The Panthers, who are 7-20-4 on the road, play three of their first four games back from the break away from home.

Florida is 2-1 against Tampa Bay this season.

02/28 10:37:52 ET

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