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NHL Preview: Florida Panthers (29-26-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (37-18-4)

FLORIDA PANTHERS NOTES:

BAPTIST HEALTH INJURY REPORT

  • F Patric Hornqvist | Games Missed: 36
  • F Sam Bennett | Games Missed: 4
  • F Aleksander Barkov | Games Missed: 1
  • F Givani Smith | Games Missed: 1
    Total Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 186

LAST GAME
Panthers 1, Sabres 3 – Feb. 24 – FLA Live Arena
FLA Goals: Verhaeghe (31)
BUF Goals: Skinner (23), Tuch (28-PPG), Skinner (24)
FLA Goalie: Bobrovsky (L) – 30 Saves
BUF Goalie: Anderson (W) – 49 Saves
FLA Shots: 50
BUF Shots: 33
Notes: Carter Verhaeghe (1-0-1) scored a goal for the second consecutive game (2-0-2 in 2GP)…Anthony Duclair made his season debut and notched an assist…Eetu Luostarinen (0-1-1) posted his third assist over his past two games (0-3-3 in 2GP)…FLA PP: 0-3, FLA PK: 1-2

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

  • Feb. 24: F Zac Dalpe and F Grigori Denisenko recalled from Charlotte (AHL) | F Anthony Duclair activated from LTIR | F Givani Smith placed on LTIR
  • Feb. 23: F Chris Tierney claimed off waivers by MTL
  • Feb. 22: G Alex Lyon recalled from Charlotte (AHL) | G Spencer Knight and F Grigori Denisenko loaned to Charlotte (AHL)

PANTHERS vs. LIGHTNING
ALL-TIME vs. TBL: 74-50-10-19
ALL-TIME ROAD vs. TBL: 30-33-6-8
2022-23 vs. TBL: 1-1-1

CATS STATS

  • Eric Staal has compiled 77 points (34-43-77) over 77 career games against Tampa Bay.
  • Sam Reinhart has posted 12 goals and 18 points (12-6-18) over 27 career games vs. the Lightning.

SUNSHINE STATE SHOWDOWN
The Panthers will face off against their cross-state rival for the fourth and final time this season. The Cats won their prior matchup with the Lightning at FLA Live 7-1 on Feb. 6 behind five points (2-3-5) from Matthew Tkachuk, four points (2-2-4) from Carter Verhaeghe, three points (1-2-3) from Sam Bennett and 32/33 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky. Florida has earned at least a point in four of their past five visits to Amalie Arena (2-1-2) since April 15, 2021. Tkachuk has amassed seven points (3-4-7) over three games against Tampa Bay in 2022-23.

POUR IT ON
Following games played Feb. 26, the Panthers ranked fifth among NHL teams with 208 goals scored and 138 even-strength goals. The Cats lead all NHL clubs averaging 36.6 shots on goal per game, with a league-most 2,234 total shots on goal. They have logged at least 50 shots on goal in five games this season, including in each of their past two contests. Florida’s 105 shots over their past two games are the second-most in a two-game span in club history (109 SOG, Oct. 27-29, 2022).

RETURN OF THE DUKE
Anthony Duclair made his season debut Feb. 24 vs. BUF, notching an assist on Carter Verhaeghe’s goal in the game. The PointeClaire, Quebec native posted career highs in goals (31), assists (27), points (58) and game-winning goals (5) in 2021-22 with Florida, and scored his first career playoff goal in Game 1 of Round 2 vs. TBL. Over 118 career regular-season games with the Panthers, Duclair has amassed 91 points (41-50-91) and a plus-47 rating. From 2020-21 to 2021-22, Duclair’s 41 goals and 90 points (41-49-90) were each the fourth-most among Panthers skaters.

BOOMIN’ BLUELINE
Florida’s 36 goals by defensemen this season are tied for the second-most of any team with NJD. The Cats’ 141 points by blueliners ranks fourth. The Panthers 213 points by blueliners in 2021-22 also ranked second in the NHL. Three different Florida blueliners have produced at least 25 points this season: Brandon Montour (48), Gustav Forsling (33) and Aaron Ekblad (27); no other team has more than two such defensemen.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING NOTES:

LAST GAME
Lightning 3 at Pittsburgh 7
The Tampa Bay Lightning wrapped up a brief, two-game road trip with a 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena…The Bolts fell to 37-18-4 on the season with a road record of 15-14-1…The Lightning are 0-2-0 vs. PIT this season with a final matchup set to be played March 2 at AMALIE Arena…PIT opened the scoring at the 3:20 mark of the first period with a goal from Drew O’Connor…Anthony Cirelli tied the game for Tampa Bay when he scored his ninth goal of the season, deflecting a point shot from Zach Bogosian past Casey DeSmith to make it a 1-1 game…Nikita Kucherov scored his 23rd goal of the year just 1:59 later when he took a pass from Brayden Point and fired a shot on DeSmith before jumping on his own rebound and burying a backhand shot to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead…Evgeni Malkin tied the game 2-2 at the 6:17 mark of the second period…PIT rattled off five goals in a span of 4:27 from Sidney Crosby, Teddy Blueger, Jeff Carter, Jason Zucker and Brian Dumoulin to make it a 7-2 game heading into the third period…With 12:03 remaining in regulation, Kucherov sent a pass to the slot for Point, who scored on the power play for his 36th goal of the season and the final goal of the contest…Kucherov recorded his 700th career point…Point skated in his 476th career game and passed Rob Zamuner and took sole possession of the 13thmost games played in Lightning franchise history…
PP: TBL – 1-3 PIT – 1-2
SOG: TBL – 29 PIT – 36
Attendance: 17,691

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP
The Lightning and the Panthers are playing the fourth of four matchups this season and the second of two meetings at AMALIE Arena…The Bolts are 2-1-0 against FLA this season with a 3-2 overtime win Oct. 21 at FLA Live Arena, a 4-1 win Dec. 10 at AMALIE Arena and a 7-1 loss Feb. 6 at FLA Live Arena…Brayden Point (3-1—4) leads Tampa Bay in goals vs. FLA this season and is tied with Nikita Kucherov (1-3—4) for the team lead in points…Steven Stamkos has scored goals in four of his last five games vs. FLA (5-3—8)…Stamkos has recorded more points against FLA than any other franchise during his career (39-37—76, 63 GP)…Point has picked up points in seven consecutive games vs. FLA (7-2—9) with goals in six of those contests…Point has scored a goal in four straight home games vs. FLA (4-1—5)…Kucherov is riding a five-game point streak vs. FLA (4-8—12)…Kucherov has recorded a multi-point effort in nine of his last 15 games vs. FLA (10-15—25) with points in 12 of the 15 contests (11-17—28)…Kucherov has points in four straight home games vs. FLA (3-6—9) and nine of the last 10 meetings at AMALIE Arena (7-8—15)…Brandon Hagel has picked up points in eight of his last 11 games vs. FLA (3-7—10)…Victor Hedman has five assists over his last four games vs. FLA (0-5—5)…Hedman has points in four of his last five home games vs. FLA (2-3—5)…Mikhail Sergachev has picked up points in three straight contests vs. FLA (1-2—3)…In 13 career games vs. FLA, Andrei Vasilevskiy is 10-3-0 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.46 goals against average…The Bolts are 7-3-0 in their last 10 home games vs. FLA and 4-6-0 in the last 10 meetings overall…The Lightning have scored three or more goals in nine of their last 10 home games vs. FLA with 41 goals during that span…The Bolts are 69-61-13 with 10 ties all-time vs. FLA, including a home record of 41-24-6 with six ties…Stamkos (39-37—76) holds the Tampa Bay franchise records for career goals and points vs. FLA.

TBL ALL-TIME POINT LEADERS VS. FLA

  1. Steven Stamkos – 76 pts. (39-37—76, 63 GP)
  2. Martin St. Louis – 71 pts. (31-40—71, 73 GP)
  3. Vincent Lecavalier – 68 pts. (26-42—68, 78 GP)
  4. Victor Hedman – 42 pts. (7-35—42, 60 GP)
  5. Nikita Kucherov – 39 pts. (17-22—39, 30 GP)

TONIGHT’S STORYLINES
Tampa Bay is playing the first game of a brief, two-game homestand tonight…The Bolts will wrap up February having played just five of their 12 games on home ice…The Lightning are 10-6-1 against Atlantic Division opponents and 17-11-2 against the Eastern Conference this season…Tampa Bay is 22-4-3 on home ice this season and are riding a franchise record 16-game home point streak…Tampa Bay has scored three or more goals in 10 consecutive home games and 25 of their 29 games at AMALIE Arena this season…The Lightning have scored a power-play goal in nine of their last 10 home games…Tampa Bay will not have more than one day between games until their March 28 matchup with Carolina.

INJURIES
2022-23 Regular Season Man Games Lost: 95
Current Injuries:
None

TRANSACTIONS
Feb. 26 – Acquired F Tanner Jeannot from Nashville in exchange for D Cal Foote, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2024
second-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick

HOME COOKING
The Bolts collected a point for the 16th-straight home game Feb. 23 vs. BUF, extending their record for the longest home point streak in Tampa Bay franchise history…The Bolts are 22-4-3 at home this season with an .810 points percentage, trailing only Boston (.879) for the NHL lead…Tampa Bay has scored three or more goals in 10 straight games at AMALIE Arena and 25 of 29 home games overall…The Lightning have surrendered two or less goals in 11 of their last 16 home contests…The Bolts are averaging over four goals per game on home ice for the second time in franchise history at 4.17 GF/GP (also: 4.02 GF/GP, 2018-19) and are the only team in the NHL averaging more than four goals per game at home…Tampa Bay’s power play is clicking at a 31.7% conversion rate on home ice, the second-best among all NHL teams, trailing only Edmonton (33.3%)…Since Dec. 1, the Lightning have given up just six powerplay goals on 48 attempts at AMALIE Arena, good for an 87.5 PK%, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the third-best home penalty kill percentage in the NHL during that span, trailing only Boston (90.6%) and New Jersey (88.9%).

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