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Panthers try to extend division lead vs. Lightning

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Panthers try to extend division lead vs. Lightning
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
PANTHERS (24-15-11) at LIGHTNING (22-23-5)

TV: FS-Florida, SUN (HD)

LAST 10: Florida 4-3-3; Tampa Bay 5-3-2

Season Series: The NHL's two Florida-based teams complete their six-game season series. After dropping the first two games, Tampa Bay has rebounded with three consecutive wins, including two that came after regulation.

Big Story: While the Panthers aim to expand on their lead atop the Southeast Division, the Lightning will look to get back to .500 and make a push for a potential playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Panthers: The Florida Panthers 3-0-1 in their past four outings and have won both of their games since the All-Star break -- beating Washington 4-2 on Wednesday before outlasting Winnipeg 2-1 at home Friday night. The opportunity to gain some ground in a tight division is staring the Panthers in the face, with road games against the Lightning and Capitals coming up.

"We know what's at stake every game and we've got to start putting a long winning streak together instead of winning one and losing one," forward Kris Versteeg said.

Lightning: The Bolts are in the midst of a five-game homestand, and they've given themselves at least some hope of making a playoff run by going 5-0-1 in their last six games. They had won five in a row before Winnipeg won 2-1 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday -- getting them within nine points of the last playoff spot in the East.

Who's Hot: The Panthers have relied on the services of their leading scorer, Versteeg, who has five points in his past three games. … The Bolts have been led by Steven Stamkos, who has four points in as many games, including two goals.

Injury Report: Florida will be without Marco Sturm (concussion), Jose Theodore (knee), Scottie Upshall (abdominal surgery) and Jack Skille (shoulder). … Tampa Bay is without Ryan Malone, Adam Hall, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mattias Ohlund.

Stat Pack: The Panthers are the League's only division-leading team with a negative goals-for/goals-against differential (-11). The second lowest is San Jose (+30).

Puck Drop: Lightning coach Guy Boucher on having his team's five-game winning streak snapped:

"No, it's not discouraging," he said. "I found it encouraging that we played so well. We have two more opportunities at home and we don't want to change our focus. I tell our guys that everything is in front of us. There's nothing left behind."

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 04 '12 FLA 3 at TBL 6 S. Stamkos
Nov 26 '11 FLA 1 at TBL 5 T. Pyatt
Nov 25 '11 TBL 2 at FLA 1 - OT S. Stamkos
Nov 06 '11 TBL 4 at FLA 3 - SO D. Moore
Oct 17 '11 FLA 7 at TBL 4 K. Versteeg
Oct 15 '11 TBL 2 at FLA 3 - SO M. Goc
K. Versteeg49202545+73264
T. Fleischmann51172138-22252
S. Weiss49132538+84044
B. Campbell5133437-5410
D. Kulikov4642024-52821
J. Garrison5113922+61482
T. Kopecky5061521-112411
S. Matthias509918-32511
M. Samuelsson246915+21030
S. Bergenheim319211-23211
M. Goc295611+3421
M. Weaver5101111+0800
M. Santorelli42628-81810
E. Jovanovski43268-101910
M. Bradley38257-22600
J. Skille33246-92401
M. Repik16235-3610
E. Gudbranson42224-154300
M. Sturm34213-122501
E. Dadonov15213-4200
K. Barch33123-18700
S. Upshall17123-22501
T. Kennedy27112-11401
K. Ellerby22022-3600
T. Strachan4022+1000
B. Thomas7101+0000
M. Cullen6011+2200
D. Booth6011-6200
J. Madden10000-1200
R. Carter7000-1600
B. Kearns5000+01000
G. Rallo1000+0000
J. Theodore3114-9-5738712.50.916
S. Clemmensen188-3-5444982.73.912
J. Markstrom72-4-1172222.66.923
B. Foster10-0-0010.001.000
S. Stamkos51342357+44467
M. St. Louis46163349+31421
V. Lecavalier51202444+34455
T. Purcell50131528+51631
R. Malone41101727-33731
M. Bergeron4242024+82010
S. Downie4881523-1611921
D. Moore5141519-94601
M. Gilroy4511314+11400
E. Brewer5111112-13100
N. Thompson457411-121900
P. Kubina473811+45301
B. Clark51279-161800
R. Shannon28279-6800
T. Pyatt43538-7601
B. Connolly39448-21612
V. Hedman35358-113000
B. Gervais30358+1600
D. Tyrell26055-5600
B. Jones22224-31000
J. Wyman9134+3000
A. Hall37123-11300
T. Smith4022+4000
M. Angelidis1101+1000
P. Labrie8011+01000
B. Mikkelson11000+3000
M. Ritola5000-2600
E. Oberg1000+0000
M. Garon3616-13-3898982.88.901
D. Roloson247-10-2756373.65.882