The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to make it two wins in a row and five wins in their last seven games as they host their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.
Tampa Bay, 14-20-10, trail the Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes, tied for second place in the Southeast Division, by nine points.
Tonight’s game will be the fifth of six meetings between the Lightning and the Panthers in ‘2008-’09. Tampa Bay is 1-0-1 against the Panthers at home.
The resurgent Lightning are led by Martin St. Louis, the team leader in points with 42. St. Louis has contributed seven points in the last six games, including a goal in the Lightning’s win over Philadelphia on Thursday night. Vincent Lecavalier leads the team in goals scored with 18, including a penalty shot score against Philadelphia. Veteran forward Mark Recchi had two assists against the Flyers and has four points in the last 3 games. Evengy Artyukhin leads the Lightning in goals against the Panthers with three.
The Florida Panthers have not had a regulation loss in 2009, going 4-0-2 over their last six games. They arrive in Tampa after an overtime loss against the Flyers on Friday night.
Forwards Stephen Weiss and David Booth share the scoring lead for the Panthers with 28 points but Booth leads the team in goals by a wide margin with 18. Tomas Vokoun has started the last four games for the Panthers, turning in a respectable 2.46 goals against average while going 3-0-1.
This is Tampa Bay’s second game at home of what will be a five-game homestand. After tonight, the Lightning will host the Dallas Stars on Monday night.