Lightning-Panthers Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning will go for a season-best fifth straight

win Monday night against a Florida Panthers team that just saw its

own five-game run come to an end.

The Panthers are returning home from a four-game road trip

looking for a fourth straight win at the BB&T Center. Florida,

though, has dropped five straight at home to Tampa Bay, and the

Lightning have won nine of the past 11 overall against the

Panthers.

The Lightning (22-11-3) needed overtime in Saturday’s 3-2 home

win over Carolina despite producing a season-high 50 shots.

“Taking 50 shots to win was less frustrating to me then getting

20 shots total,” coach Jon Cooper told the team’s official website.

“I would rather get the 50 shots and ultimately look and say the

goalie flat out beat us than sit here and say we just beat

ourselves. Sometimes this is going to happen, this is the National

Hockey League.”

Tampa Bay trailed twice, but Martin St. Louis’ power-play goal

in the third tied it at 2-all, and Radko Gudas scored in overtime

on a 3-on-1 break.

St. Louis has recorded goals in back-to-back games and three

straight against the Panthers.

Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist for his fifth multi-point

effort of the season. His seven goals are among the most in the

league for defensemen.

“It’s always a lot of fun to contribute on both ends of the

ice,” Hedman said. “From training camp it’s been about five guys on

defense, five guys on offense. The defense got two goals tonight

and we need to keep that going.”

Ben Bishop made 25 saves to win his fourth straight start. He

has a 1.20 goals-against average in that span and could be in net

with a chance to earn his 20th win of the season.

The Panthers (14-18-5) are looking to get back on track after a

5-2 loss at Winnipeg on Friday. They had allowed eight goals during

the five-game win streak.

“For us, it’s the learning, the progress and moving forward in

this situation,” interim coach Peter Horachek told the team’s

official website. “We’re learning how to win. We’re learning how to

handle situations. Even tonight, you’re learning to deal with

adversity. You’re coming in, you’re a little bit tired. You’re in

that situation where they come out strong, they get some calls,

they get some 5-on-3 (situations), so you’re learning from

that.

“This is part of the process where you’re learning to win.”

The Panthers figure to have a streaking goaltender in net. After

giving Jacob Markstrom the start against the Jets, Scott Clemmensen

will likely go for his fifth straight win. He has a 1.47 GAA in the

four victories.

Shawn Matthias and Nick Bjugstad scored against the Jets, and

they both scored the last time out against the Lightning, a 4-3

Tampa Bay shootout road win Oct. 27. Bjugstad has goals in both of

his career matchups with them.

The Lightning beat the Panthers twice in the first month of the

season.