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

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 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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