The Tampa Bay Lightning meet their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, tonight at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
This is the third stop in a three-stop road trip which has seen the Lightning play some excellent hockey and be rewarded with three points. The Bolts took Ottawa to overtime and scored four unanswered goals to topple the Maple Leafs prior to tonight’s contest.
This will be the sixth and final meeting between the Lightning and the Panthers this season, with Tampa Bay posting a 2-2-1 record. At the BankAtlantic Center this season, the Lightning are 1-1-0.
Martin St. Louis continues to lead the Lightning in points with 67, including five goals and seven assists in the last nine games. Vincent Lecavalier is pacing the team in goals scored with 28. The captain has three goals and six points against Florida this season.
Forward Evengy Artyukhin has netted three of his five goals this season against the Panthers.
At the other end of the ice, the Florida Panthers, 34-24-9, are in a battle for their post-season lives. The Panthers have not made the playoffs for eight seasons but are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind both Carolina and the New York Rangers for the eighth, and final, playoff position.
Florida has lost their last two games, but tonight’s match-up opens a five-game homestand for the Panthers.
Forward Stephen Weiss leads Florida with 48 points while David Booth has scored 24 goals to lead in that category. In net, goaltender Tomas Vokoun is second to all NHL netminders with a .925 save percentage.
Following tonight’s contest, the Lightning resume activities at home against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Also calling at the St. Pete Times Forum during this homestand will be Washington, Atlanta and Columbus.