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
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