Lightning-Panthers Preview

Two nights after an inspired shootout win against the defending

Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell right back into

their slump against the Eastern Conference’s worst team.

It may not get any easier against the Florida Panthers.

Visiting Tampa Bay looks to avoid its fourth loss to Florida

this season and keep pace in the Southeast Division on Saturday


The Lightning (38-22-8) have lost five of their last six games

after falling 2-1 Friday against last-place Ottawa. Tampa Bay beat

Chicago 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday to end its four-game losing

streak, but had another low-scoring effort against the


The Lightning have scored two or less goals in seven of their

last eight. Martin St. Louis scored for the second straight game

and has four points in his last three.

”We need to figure out how to play a full 60 minutes,”

defenseman Mike Lundin said. ”We do it against teams like Chicago

and other teams at the top of the standings. We need to do it

against every team because points are just as valuable no matter

who you play.”

Defenseman Pavel Kubina began serving a three-game suspension

Friday for elbowing Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland in the head and

won’t be available against the Panthers, who have beaten Tampa Bay

in three of four meetings this season.

Florida (27-32-9) is struggling itself, having lost six of its

last seven after a 2-1 defeat Thursday against Ottawa. The Panthers

are 3-8-2 in their last 13 games, and haven’t scored more than

three goals since a 4-3 overtime win Feb. 4 at New Jersey.

Florida went 0 for 4 on the power play, which included coming up

empty on a five-minute major called on the Senators early in the

third period. The Panthers are 2 for 29 with the man advantage in

their last nine.

”You get a chance like that, 5 minutes, if you don’t capitalize

on that, it gives them momentum and that’s kind of what happened,”

said Clay Wilson, who scored Florida’s lone goal.

Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves but dropped to 2-6-1 with a 2.95

goals-against average in his last nine. However, Vokoun is 2-0-1

with a 1.26 GAA against Tampa Bay this season.

”It was a bad hockey game, I think, both ways,” coach Peter

DeBoer said. ”The goalies were the two bright spots on the ice. We

looked like we could play for weeks and not score a goal at some

points there.”

Vokoun made 29 saves Oct. 16 in a 6-0 victory against the

Lightning as David Booth scored twice and had an assist. The other

three meetings all went to a shootout, with Florida winning 4-3 on

Nov. 27 and 3-2 on Feb. 19. Tampa Bay’s lone victory came Jan. 21,


Booth has three career two-goal games against the Lightning.

The Panthers also won three of the first four meetings in

2009-10 before the Lightning won the final two to even the season