Game Day Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers

SUNRISE FL - OCTOBER 1: Goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stops a shot by Stephen Weiss #9 of the Florida Panthers during a preseason game on October 1 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. The Lightning defeated the Panthers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Florida: 27-32-9 (63PTS)
Tampa Bay: 38-22-8 (84PTS)
Season Series: 3-0-1

Tonight the Panthers host the cross-state rival Lightning. These two teams are headed in opposite directions: the Lightning to the playoffs and the Panthers to a record-setting tenth straight season missing said playoffs. That said, the Panthers have practically owned the Lightning the last few years.

Last meeting: On February 19, the Panthers won 3-2 in a shootout in Tampa. The game was the third shootout in the season series.

Last game: The Panthers followed up a win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks with a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators in what was probably the most boring game I have ever seen in person.

Notes: Forward Tim Kennedy made his Panthers and NHL season debut against the Senators. Forward Scott Timmins was injured in that game. He will be replaced by Ryan Carter, making his Panthers debut after arriving from Carolina via the Cory Stillman trade.

Injuries: Scott Timmins, concussion, unknown (3/10/2011). Alexander Sulzer (day to day), unknown (3/5/2011), Ryan Carter (day to day), upper-body injury (2/12/2011). Evgeni Dadonov (IR), broken finger, out at least a month (3/3/2011). Jack Skille (day to day), High ankle sprain, unknown (2/23/2011). Shawn Matthias (IR), broken ankle, out 6-8 weeks (1/31/2011). Rostislav Olesz, knee, out for the season (2/25/2011). Byron Bitz (IR), sports hernia, out for the season.

Starting goaltenders: Scott Clemmensen will start for the Panthers.

Lines: These are the forward lines from the last gamee, with Carter substituted for Timmins.

Bergfors - Weiss - Samsonov
Booth - Reasoner - Repik
Kennedy - Santorelli - Bernier
Hordichuk - Carter - Thomas

The defensive pairings from last game will probably not change:

Weaver-Garrison
Kulikov-Ellerby
Callahan-Wilson

This will probably be another heartbreaker for the tank club. The Panthers have been very good against the Lightning the last few seasons and the Lightning have had a bit of a rough week.

More from our Tampa Bay cohorts at Raw Charge.

Lightning vs Panthers coverage at SBNation.com

TSN Preview here.

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