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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Lightning

The Cats and Bolts battle in Tampa at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 10:30 AM ET / Preview
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Lightning

THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning


Panthers Lightning
Record 24-34-7 34-24-7
Points 55 75
Place 7th in Atlantic 4th in Atlantic

The Basics

The Florida Panthers are in Tampa tonight taking on their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Things have been stormy in Tampa as the Bolts have gone winless in their last five games. Despite the losing streak, the Lightning still occupy the first Eastern Conference wildcard spot holding a four point cushion over the Red Wings and Devils, making tonight a perfect opportunity for the Cats to play spoiler over their Florida brethren.

Following tonight’s game, the Panthers will have a quick turnaround as they will be back at BB&T Center to face the Devils on Friday night.

Here is the Lowdown

What Do Tampa Fans Think About The Marty St. Louis Trade?

Young Gun Lead Pipe Lock Of the Night (Where I pick a Panthers ‘Young Gun’ to have a big game and give a totally legit reason to back up my prediction.)

The Pick: Jonathan Huberdeau

The Reason: The Panthers have had a tough time with the Lightning this season going 0-2-1 in their three meetings. Records are unimportant however as the only thing that matters is this tasty goal that Huberdeau scored against the Bolts back in October:

The Return of Stamkos

On March 6, Steven Stamkos made his return to the ice after sitting out since November with a broken right shin. The return was the most anticipated comeback since Dean Portman returned to the Ducks in D3: The Mighty Ducks.

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Stamkos has been a handful for the Panthers this season as the newly appointed Lightning captain as he has put up six points (4-2-6) in his two appearances against the Cats.

An Inside Luuu-k

TB Players To Watch

# 9 Tyler Johnson

The Lightning have made a habit of finding and developing talented sub-5’10” forwards that went undrafted. Martin St. Louis (5'8”), Cory Conacher (5’8”, currently with the Sabres) and now rookie Tyler Johnson (5’9”) are all graduates of LSU (Lightning Shortstack University). The production of the 23-year-old Johnson (20-21-41) was a big reason why the Lightning felt they could live with trading St. Louis.

#18 Ondrej Palat

At just 22, Palat has developed into one of Tampa’s most productive forwards. With 42 points (17-25-42), he is second to Valtteri Filppula in the Lightning scoring race and he is currently one of the hottest players on the team with five points in his last two games (3-2-5).

Roster Moves

The Panthers made a couple of roster moves yesterday calling up F Quinton Howden and D Alex Petrovic. Howden, 22, has scored 27 (10-17-27) points in 57 games in San Antonio this season while Petrovic, 22, has tallied 13 points (2-11-13) in 43 games.

The two youngsters were called up to fill out the Panthers’ suddenly dinged-up roster. With Jesse Winchester, Erik Gudbranson and Sean Bergenheim all out of the lineup tonight against the Bolts, there will be ample opportunity for Petrovic and Howden to shine.

That’s all for today, enjoy the game.

Go Panthers!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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