NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 10th (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (1-2-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will aim for their first three- game winning streak since early last season, as they host the rival Florida Panthers in Thursday's home opener at Tampa Times Forum.
The Lightning have won two straight since losing its season opener in Boston, posting recent road victories in Chicago and Buffalo. Another victory on Thursday would give Tampa its first three-game winning streak since it won five straight from Jan. 22-Feb. 1.
Starting out 2-1 on the road is a good sign for the Bolts, who had a dismal 6-16-2 record as the guest in 2013. Tampa was 12-10-2 as the host during last year's shortened season and it hopes to open its home schedule with a win on Thursday.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are aiming for their second win of the campaign after dropping two in a row following a season-opening win at Dallas.
Florida, which suffered a 7-0 loss in St. Louis on Saturday and a 2-1 regulation setback Tuesday in Philadelphia, is capping a four-game road trip to start the season tonight. The Panthers were just 7-16-1 on the road in 2013.
The Lightning claimed three of five meetings against Florida in 2013, but the Panthers did win the final two encounters. Both of Florida's wins against Tampa Bay last season were on the road.
Tampa earned an overtime win in Buffalo on Tuesday, as the Bolts overcame a pair of one-goal deficits in the 3-2 victory.
Alex Killorn scored the game-winner for Tampa just 1:50 into the extra session. Killorn corralled a loose puck on the left side of the net, skated around to the right and lifted one over Jhonas Enroth's glove to provide the game winner.
Teddy Purcell and Tyler Johnson also lit the lamp for the Lightning, while Ben Bishop made 21 saves in the win.
"We dug ourselves in a little hole but we showed a lot of resiliency and character and that's good to see that early on," Purcell said.
Florida not only lost Tuesday's game in Philadelphia, but also watched as starting goaltender Tim Thomas suffered an injury in the setback. Thomas lasted just 7:31 of game time before being pulled due to a lower-body injury, having allowed two goals on five shots.
"Just slightly pulled his groin, so I don't think it's anything long term," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said of the injury.
Thomas, who was signed to a one-year deal by Florida just prior to the season, is day-to-day. Jacob Markstrom, who finished Tuesday's contest perfect on 13 shots faced, will get the call on Thursday.
Brad Boyes recorded the lone score for the Panthers on Tuesday.
10/10 10:49:45 ET