The Florida Panthers open a five-game homestand tonight against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 PM. The improving Cats are 7-3-0 in their last ten games, but only sport a .500 record at the BB&T Center. That needs to improve if the Panthers are going to make a serious bid for a playoff spot.
Tampa Bay arrives in Sunrise winners of four straight. Radko Gudas scored the overtime winner for the Bolts in their last tilt, a 3-2 win over Carolina, which saw them launch 50 shots at Hurricanes keeper Justin Peters.
The teams have already met twice this season. The Lightning routed the Panthers 7-2 in Tampa Bay on October 10th, and edged the Cast 4-3 in a shootout in Sunrise on October 27th when Steven Stamkos provided the skills competition winner in the fourth round. Jacob Markstrom took the loss in both of the games.
Scott Clemmensen will get the start tonight for the Cats and will looking for his fifth straight win. Markstrom spelled Clemmensen Friday night in Winnipeg and suffered a 5-2 to the Jets. The Lightning will counter with Ben Bishop, who will be looking for his 20th win of the season.
In roster news, defenseman Alex Petrovic has been recalled from the San Antonio Rampage.
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