Lightning (3-0-0) at Panthers (1-2-0)
Season Series: Tonight’s contest at the BankAtlantic Center is the first of six meetings between the Southeast Division rivals as well as the first of three to be played in Sunrise this season.
|Apr 11, 2010||TBL@FLA||TBL, 3 - 1|
|Apr 10, 2010||FLA@TBL||TBL, 4 - 3|
|Mar 21, 2010||TBL@FLA||FLA, 5 - 2|
|Jan 16, 2010||TBL@FLA||FLA, 5 - 2|
|Jan 14, 2010||FLA@TBL||FLA, 3 - 2|
|Oct 12, 2009||FLA@TBL||TBL, 3 - 2|
The Big Story: The Lightning come into tonight’s matchup with a 3-0-0 record to start the season, marking just the fourth time in franchise history and the first since 2007-08. Tampa Bay has won six consecutive games dating back to last season, including two against the Panthers. The Bolts are also looking to improve their record in their last five games away from home to 5-0-0, as they have won four straight on the road dating back to last season.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay concludes its three-game road trip tonight in Sunrise against the division-rival Panthers. Tampa Bay has won two in a row over Florida and is running on high octane as the team comes in 3-0-0 on the season following a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on Thursday. The win was not only significant in terms of points in the standings, but also for personal reasons for a number of Lightning players. Simon Gagne was greeted with warm applause from Flyers fans as he made his return to Philadelphia, and goaltender Dan Ellis earned his first win in a Lightning uniform, stopping 24 shots in his Bolts debut. Dominic Moore had a goal for the Lightning, as did Steven Stamkos and Pavel Kubina, whose goals signaled major franchise milestones. Stamkos became the first player in franchise history to score a goal in each of his team’s first three games to start a season and Kubina tied Dan Boyle on the all-time franchise list for most goals scored by a Lightning defenseman.
PANTHERS – Florida appears in its home debut tonight after completing a three-game season-opening road trip in which it went 1-2-0. The Panthers dropped two consecutive contests to open the season, but rebounded with their first win on Thursday with a 3-0 shutout of the Flames. Radek Dvorak had two goals and Shawn Matthias also scored to backstop Tomas Vokoun, who made all 27 saves.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has scored in three straight games to open the season for the Bolts and Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each have notched four points in three games as well. For Florida, Cory Stillman and Rostislav Olesz each have a pair of points in two games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, out 2 weeks); PANTHERS – Byron Bitz (lower body).
Quotable: “It's these kinds of games that add character and confidence, especially for a team trying to build an identity. It shows relentlessness and resiliency.” – Lightning center Dominic Moore, after his team’s 3-2 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night
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