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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, March 20th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (36-28-4) at Florida Panthers (28-30-9), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers try to keep their late drive for a playoff spot going tonight when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the BankAtlantic Center.

With 65 points, the Panthers are 12th in the Eastern Conference race -- six points behind the eighth-place Montreal Canadiens.

Florida has won its last two games, including Saturday's 4-3 shootout victory in Washington. Roberto Luongo stopped 37-of-40 shots and did not allow a goal in the shootout to anchor the win.

Jon Sim scored his 15th goal of the season for the Panthers, who improved to 6-0 against Washington this season. Joe Nieuwendyk scored the only goal of the shootout. A night after scoring his first goal of the season, Jay Bouwmeester tallied his second.

The Panthers, who have won five of their last six tilts, begin a three-game homestand tonight and will welcome Washington to town on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, checks in tied with New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. The Lightning have won their last two matches, defeating the Flyers and Islanders. On Sunday, Vincent Lecavalier and Fredrik Modin tallied a goal and an assist apiece as the Bolts defeated the Isles, 5-2, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina and Ruslan Fedotenko each scored a goal and John Grahame made 30 saves for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four games.

Lecavalier extended his point streak to six games (5g, 3a), while Vaclav Prospal moved his to five (2g, 6a).

The Lightning will host Washington on Thursday.

Florida has won three of the first four meetings with Tampa this season.

03/20 10:13:13 ET


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