NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, December 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (22-11-3) at Florida Panthers (14-18-5), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to continue playing well
without star centerman Steven Stamkos, as the Bolts shoot for a season-best
fifth consecutive win when they visit the Florida Panthers in Monday's
Atlantic Division battle at BB&T Center.
The Lightning tied a season-high winning streak by picking up a fourth
straight victory in Saturday's home triumph over Carolina. Tampa Bay
previously won four in a row from Nov. 1-9, but that streak ended on Nov. 11
at Boston in the same game that saw Stamkos suffer a broken right leg.
Not counting the 3-0 loss in Boston on Nov. 11, the Lightning have managed to
go 10-6-3 with Stamkos out of the lineup, and with 47 points, the club is tied
for second in the Atlantic with Montreal.
Stamkos, a two-time winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's top
goal-scorer, has begun skating lightly, but is still sidelined indefinitely.
He is still second on Tampa Bay with 14 goals this season despite sitting out
the last 19 games.
The Lightning rallied for an overtime win Saturday against the visiting
Hurricanes. Carolina carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Martin St.
Louis evened the game with a power-play goal with 12:04 left in regulation and
Radko Gudas scored 2:16 into overtime to lift Tampa to the 3-2 decision.
Gudas potted his second goal of the year after skating into the Carolina end
and unleashing a rising shot that beat Justin Peters high to the glove side
from the right circle. Right before the goal, Gudas muscled Carolina's Jeff
Skinner into the boards, but no penalty was called. Nate Thompson then
delivered the outlet pass that had Gudas break into the offensive zone
Victor Hedman scored in the first period for Tampa Bay, which improved to
6-1-0 against Carolina since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
"We just had to keep shooting pucks. We knew sooner than later it was going to
go in," Hedman said.
Ben Bishop made 25 saves for the Lightning and improved to 19-5-2 on the
Bishop expects to get the call tonight and is 2-0 with a 1.15 goals against
average in two career games against the Panthers. He made 19 saves when the
Lightning torched Florida 7-2 in Tampa on Oct. 10, while Anders Lindback
recorded the victory in a 4-3 road win versus the Panthers on Oct. 27.
With a 2-0 start against the Panthers in this season's series, Tampa has won
nine of the last 11 encounters overall. Florida has lost five straight on the
road in this series.
Florida had won a season-high five straight games before getting dealt a 5-2
setback Friday night in Winnipeg. Evander Kane, Jacob Trouba and Michael
Frolik each had a goal and an assist to help the Jets cool off the Panthers,
who lost the finale of a four-game road trip.
The Panthers received goals from Shawn Matthias and Nick Bjugstad in the loss,
while Jacob Markstrom finished with 27 saves.
With Tim Thomas still out with a lower-body injury, Scott Clemmensen expects
to get the start in net for the Panthers on Monday. Clemmensen is 5-3-1 with a
3.17 GAA in 11 career games (9 starts) against Tampa Bay.
12/23 11:04:11 ET