NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 16th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (6-6-1) at Florida Panthers (4-6-3), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning take aim at their first victory in seven games on Saturday afternoon as they visit a Florida Panthers club that is also in the midst of a losing streak.
The Lightning won six of their first seven games to start this lockout- shortened season, but have since gone 0-5-1 to lose their hold on first place in the Southeast Division.
Tampa Bay wrapped a brief two-game homestand on Thursday with a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals as a third-period comeback try fell short.
The Bolts trailed by three goals before Teddy Purcell lit the lamp with 7:58 left in the third frame. Nate Thompson then made it a one-goal game with 3:13 remaining on the clock, but Tampa Bay could not complete a late rally for a second straight game and fell to 1-4-0 on the road this season.
The Lightning scored three times in the third frame of a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
"What I find hard about this is that our guys worked really hard out there tonight," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher following the loss to the Caps. "I felt sorry for the guys because they kept working and working at it. We just ran out of time."
Martin St. Louis scored his first goal in 11 games but also logged his 15th assist of the campaign. He is among the league leaders in points with 19.
Mathieu Garon gave up all four goals on 39 shots in the loss, which was Tampa Bay's first to a fellow Southeast Division resident this season (4-1-0).
One of the Lightning's divisional victories this season came on Jan. 29 in Tampa, where the Bolts notched a 5-2 win over the Panthers. It was Tampa Bay's fifth straight victory in this series and two of those wins have come in Sunrise, where on Saturday the Panthers play the third of a four-game homestand.
Florida has lost the first two in overtime, falling 1-0 to Montreal on Thursday. Jose Theodore made 31 saves, two days after the Panthers fell 6-5 to Washington.
"We've lost some games in overtime but we're trying to move forward," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "This was a tough game for us. We got outworked for a stretch until we finally decided to play a simple game and things followed from there. But it wasn't enough to bring it home."
The Panthers suffered a third straight loss overall and dropped their fourth in five games. Three of those setbacks have come after regulation.
Forward Kris Versteeg, who has a goal and two assists through seven games this season, did not play on Thursday because of an upper body injury and is day- to-day. He managed 23 goals and 54 points for the Panthers last season.
02/16 10:28:49 ET