NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 2nd
(All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (23-25-5) at Tampa Bay Lightning (21-26-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to record back-to-back wins
for the first time in over a month when they visit the rival Tampa Bay
Lightning for a Southeast Division battle at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Panthers defeated Vancouver on Friday night to halt a two-game skid.
Florida, which is fourth in the division with 51 points, hasn't notched
consecutive victories since posting a three-game winning streak from December
Florida notched Friday's win in dramatic fashion as Nathan Horton notched the
game-winner by netting the lone goal in the shootout of a 4-3 win. Horton's
tally was able to spoil Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo's return to
Horton scored in regulation, as did Jozef Stumpel and Stephen Weiss for the
Panthers. Tomas Vokoun added 29 stops in regulation for his 21st win of the
Luongo, making his first appearance in South Florida since the 2006 trade
which dealt him to Vancouver, took the loss despite a solid, 40-save
performance. The 28-year-old goaltender played for the Panthers from
2000-2006, compiling 108 wins and 26 shutouts.
Florida begins a five-game road trip tonight and is just 12-13-1 as the
visiting team this season.
Meanwhile, the Lightning will try to wrap up a five-game homestand on a
positive note, as they've gone 2-2-0 so far on the residency. Tampa beat
Edmonton to begin the stand on January 22, but was then handed consecutive
defeats by Ottawa and Buffalo.
However, Tampa Bay was able to get back on the right track with Thursday's
close win over Vancouver. Brad Richards had a goal and two assists as the
Lightning downed the Canucks, 4-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Martin St. Louis had three assists while Karri Ramo stopped 23 shots for the
Tampa is 14-12-2 as the host this season, but has dropped seven of nine and 10
of its last 13 home tests. After this evening's test the Lightning will begin
a three-game road trip with Tuesday's test in St. Louis.
The Lightning have won three of five meetings with the Panthers this season,
but Florida has taken five of the last eight overall. However, the Panthers
have dropped two straight and five of its last seven in Tampa.
02/02 10:59:13 ET