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Game Day: Florida Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning

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Contrary to speculation, the new ownership group has implemented no notable alterations to the Lightning. No fear: It's status quo in Hockey Bay!

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Cats at Bolts: 7:30p, St. Pete Times Forum, FSN-FL

Panthers: 20-16-7 47P, T-2nd in SE Lightning: 14-20-10 38P, 3rd in SE

LAST 10: FLA: 4-3-3 TAM: 5-4-1

HOME & AWAY: FLA (A): 10-11-3 TAM: (H): 5-7-7

SEASON SERIES: Game 5 of 6

Another game with potential to be a genuine crowd-pleaser, the Lightning have begun to recover from a tough start to a tougher season, while the Cats attempt to build upon a solid foundation established in the past few weeks.

"The shootouts are hurting us a little bit; we' re dropping some points."

- Coach Pete, following Friday's loss to Philadelphia

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Thunderbug (right) visits with a Lightning Ice Girl before a recent game.


BATTERED AND BRUISED


Tampa Bay Lightning Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Martin St. Louis other-excused 30.12.2008

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Lukas Krajicek other-excused 30.12.2008
Matt Carle ankle 30.12.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Gary Roberts elbow 02.12.2008
David Koci hand 27.11.2008



Florida Panthers Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Bryan Allen knee 12.10.2008
Cory Murphy shoulder 29.10.2008
Rostislav Olesz groin 06.12.2008
Kamil Kreps shoulder 28.12.2008

Again, Murphy is healthy but out of the active lineup. All others remain on the shelf.

DIVISIONALLY SPEAKING


Southeast Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Washington 45 28 14 3 59
Florida 43 20 16 7 47
Carolina 45 21 19 5 47
Tampa Bay 44 14 20 10 38
Atlanta 45 15 25 5 35

(updated 1.17.2009 at 8:45 AM EST)



WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

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  • As we're all aware, The Flyers took a two goal lead, lost it, and dragged their feet into a shootout whereupon Simon Gagne put away the Panthers 3-2 (SO). Forgetting the final ten minutes of the first period, Florida showed real heart and determination in clawing their way back into this one, a game which could have gotten far out of hand quickly. Yet another contest the Cats would have lost in regulation six weeks ago. Dueling D-men Bryan McCabe and Jay Bouwmeester scored to even it up, while Tomas Vokoun shook off the cobwebs in net, settling down and keeping it interesting. A point is a point, and Florida is now tied with Carolina, while holding two games in hand.
  • Kovy had two goals and an assist at home to nudge his Thrashers over the visiting Leafs 4-3 in OT, staying within three points of idle Tampa Bay. Toronto now holds 41 points, good for 11th in the East.
  • The host Penguins' Matt Cooke (2g) outscored Anaheim, defeating the listless Ducks 3-1. We now dislike Mr. Cooke, as he pushed Pittsburgh into the eighth spot in the conference. Crosby wasn't even playing. And Chris Pronger...minus-3???

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TODAY IN THE SOUTHEAST

The entire division is on the ice tonight:

  • Carolina (47P) @ Buffalo (48P), 7p. Don't need to explain this one. We're all Sabres fans tonight. Sort of. Not really. I'm out.
  • Boston @ Washington, 7p. Epic.
  • Atlanta @ Nashville, 8p. The Preds are 4 points of the eighth spot in the West. Thrashers? Not so much.

THE CHASE FOR EIGHTH...AND BEYOND

  • Hurricanes/Sabres is the only candidate; ramifications will affect the final third of the Eastern playoff spots.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

  • Detroit @ San Jose, 10:30p. The best in the west separated by a single point. The cliched Conference Final matchup?

LITTER BOX LINERS

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THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE

NEXT UP FOR THE CATS

  • Buffalo @ Florida, Monday Jan. 19th, 7:30p. A classic "four-point" game with several storylines.