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game preview

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Panthers-Lightning Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (2-0-0-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-0-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers are off to an impressive start.

Having yet to surrender a goal, Luongo hopes to lead Florida to its third straight win as it visits the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Luongo made 27 saves for his second straight shutout Friday, leading Florida to a 2-0 victory over the Lightning.

Luongo is perfect on the season, having shut out Atlanta on 34 shots in the season opener Wednesday. He is picking up right where he left off before the lockout. During the 2003-04 season, Luongo set NHL records for most saves (2,303) and most shots faced (2,475).

"It's great (to get a shutout), but the win is more important," Luongo said. "We're off to a good start. We just have to keep this going."

It was the 25th career shutout for Luongo, who has gone 127 minutes, 11 seconds since allowing a goal.

"This is the way we want to keep playing. We want to keep getting the key goals and put the points on the board. That's how we're going to make the playoffs," Luongo said.

The Lightning could see Luongo seven more times this season, including Saturday.

"He's one of the top goalies in the league, no doubt," Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier said. "I don't think he's surprising anyone with how good he is."

John Grahame was nearly as good as Luongo. He made 30 saves, but couldn't stop the Lightning from losing their first game of the season.

Because of the new scheduling structure, the teams are playing a record eight times this season - as they will other Southeast Division opponents - fueling what is becoming a growing rivalry between the two Florida teams.

"You see a team eight times, it does make it an edgier style of play," said Panthers center Chris Gratton, who played 5B= seasons for the Lightning during two stints in the 1990s. "But at the same time you have to be disciplined about it. Those points in these games are huge points."

Florida leads the all-time series 29-16-10-2.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 5): Panthers - 2 points, 2nd place (tied), Southeast Division. Lightning - 4 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS Panthers - Juraj Kolnik, Olli Jokinen, Lukas Krajicek and Nathan Horton, 1 goal; Jokinen, Rostislav Olesz, Joe Nieuwendyk and Kristian Huselius, 1 assists; Jokinen, 2 points; Branislav Mezei, 19 PIM. Lightning - Five players, 1 goal; Vaclav Prospal, Ruslan Fedotenko and Dave Andreychuk, 2 assists; Prospal, 3 points; Tim Taylor, Nolan Pratt, Timo Helbling and Chris Dingman, 2 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 5): Panthers - Power play: 12.5 percent (1 for 8), tied for 15th. Penalty killing: 100 percent (6 for 6), tied for 1st. Lightning - Power play: 16.7 percent (1 for 6), tied for 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 100 percent (3 for 3), tied for 1st.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (2-0-0, 2 SO, 0.00 GAA); Jamie McLennan (no record). Lightning - Grahame (1-1-0, 2.00 GAA); Sean Burke (no record).

SEASON SERIES: Panthers, 1-0-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 7; Panthers, 2-0. At Florida, Kolnik broke up a scoreless game with 2:27 left in the third period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 1-0-0-0 on the road; Lightning - 1-0-0-0 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 09 '06 TBL 3 at FLA 6 J. Kolnik
Apr 03 '06 FLA 1 at TBL 4 V. Lecavalier
Apr 01 '06 TBL 2 at FLA 4 O. Jokinen
Mar 20 '06 TBL 5 at FLA 6 - OT O. Jokinen
Feb 28 '06 FLA 8 at TBL 2 M. Gelinas
Jan 24 '06 FLA 3 at TBL 2 - OT O. Jokinen
Oct 08 '05 FLA 1 at TBL 2 M. St. Louis
Oct 07 '05 TBL 0 at FLA 2 J. Kolnik