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Panthers-Lightning Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Panthers-Lightning Preview
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning haven't won two straight since mid-March. The Florida Panthers would settle for their first victory since opening night.

Fresh off their first win of the season, the Lightning try to make it two in a row Monday night when they host Southeast Division rival Florida.

After finishing last season 0-7-2 and opening 2009-10 with an 0-1-2 mark, Tampa Bay snapped its 12-game losing streak with Saturday's 5-2 victory over Carolina.

Forward Ryan Malone posted his third career hat trick and the Lightning (1-1-2) notched their first win since a 2-1 overtime victory over Columbus on March 24.

"The guys did a good job of keeping it even keel," said Malone, who had two goals and four assists against Florida last season. "That's what it's all about. So it's good to see everybody come together and get two points."

Tampa Bay last won two straight from March 12-14 - a 4-1 victory at Toronto and a 4-3 shootout win at Florida.

Steve Downie and Paul Ranger each scored their first goals of 2009-10 on Saturday.

Vincent Lecavalier, who picked up his third assist of the season on Ranger's goal, has not found the back of the net in his last 11 games.

Lecavalier had three goals and three assists as Tampa Bay went 3-2-1 against Florida last season.

Martin St. Louis has two goals and six assists in his last three games versus the Panthers. St. Louis looks to extend his point streak to five Monday after recording two assists for the second straight game Saturday.

"We could have won the last three games," St. Louis said. "Keep playing together, I like our chances to be successful."

Florida (1-3-0) hasn't enjoyed a victory since defeating Chicago 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 2 in its season opener in Finland. The Panthers lost their third straight Saturday, 3-2 to New Jersey, after falling 7-2 at Carolina on Friday.

"(The Devils) were sitting here waiting for you while you were on the road the night before, it isn't the perfect scenario," coach Pete DeBoer said. "Given the circumstances we gave ourselves a chance and it would have been nice to pick up a point."

Florida did record its first power-play goal of the season on Stephen Weiss' game-tying third-period score. The Panthers are a league-worst 1 of 16 with the man advantage.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 shots Saturday after getting pulled in the third period Friday. He is 3-3-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average in eight career games in Tampa Bay.

Making his first start of the season for Mike Smith, who is 0-1-2 with a 3.16 GAA, Tampa Bay's Antero Niittymaki had 24 saves Saturday, including 10 in the third period when the Lightning outscored the Hurricanes 3-0.

"You're up by two goals, they're going to come hard and they did," Niittymaki told the club's official Web site. "They had a couple of chances but overall we did awesome."

Niittymaki, who spent the last five seasons with Philadelphia, is 4-2-1 with a 2.04 GAA in seven career starts against the Panthers.

Tampa Bay is 10-5-2 at home versus Florida since Feb. 14, 2004.

2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '10 TBL 3 at FLA 1 V. Lecavalier
Apr 10 '10 FLA 3 at TBL 4 - SO S. Stamkos
Mar 21 '10 TBL 2 at FLA 5 C. Stillman
Jan 16 '10 TBL 2 at FLA 5 B. Allen
Jan 14 '10 FLA 3 at TBL 2 R. Olesz
Oct 12 '09 FLA 2 at TBL 3 R. Malone
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Frolik5213+0800
V. Koistinen5112+2400
R. Dvorak5112-2200
S. Weiss5112-4010
D. Seidenberg5022+1000
S. Reinprecht5022-1200
D. Kulikov5022-5400
S. Matthias5101+1000
R. Olesz5101-3000
D. Booth5101-4400
N. Horton5101-5210
K. Kreps5011+3200
B. McCabe5011+0200
C. Stillman5011-1200
J. Leopold5011-1200
K. Ballard5011-1200
G. Campbell5000-5200
B. Allen4000-6800
J. Garrison1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
T. Vokoun51-4-0181863.80.903
A. Salak10-0-0276.67.714
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. St. Louis5369+2020
S. Stamkos5336+3220
R. Malone5505+2212
V. Lecavalier5055-2200
M. Ohlund5044+3200
V. Hedman5044+2800
A. Meszaros5112-1400
P. Ranger5112-2400
S. Downie5101+1010
T. Fedoruk5101-1700
M. Walker5011+1200
A. Tanguay5011-1200
S. Veilleux5011-21400
J. Halpern5000+0000
Z. Konopka5000+01900
D. Miller5000+0000
J. Wright5000+0200
D. Hale2000+0200
L. Krajicek2000+0200
K. Foster1000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
A. Niittymaki22-0-04592.00.932
M. Smith30-1-210903.16.889
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