Florida: 1-2-0 (2PTS)
Tampa Bay: 1-1-0 (2PTS)
Pre-Season Series: 0-1-0
Today is likely our last chance to see many of the Panthers' prospects in person for the year and our first chance to see new Panthers Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann in action. Sunday is an off-day and Monday is the first day of waivers, so we can expect to see a lot of bubble players cut tomorrow and the rosters for the two games against the Stars next week to more closely resemble the roster the Panthers will carry into the season.
Last meeting: Last night the Lightning beat the Panthers 5-2 in Tampa. The Panthers went down 4-0 in the first two periods but clawed back to 4-2 before Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier put the final nail in with 2 minutes to go. It is of note that the Lightning played a team composed mostly of NHL regulars against a Panthers squad composed of mostly minor league and juniors players. It is also of note that the third period was again the Cats' strongest period. Former Senator Ryan Shannon scored two goals for the Lightning.
Notes: In this home and home, the two teams are swapping playing A against B teams. Last night the Lightning fielded a roster that included heave hitters Steven Stamkos, Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis as well as starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson while the Cats had veterans Steven Reinprecht and Marcel Goc with prospects Jonathan Huberdeau, Jacob Markstrom and Erik Gudbranson. The opposite will happen tonight. The Lightning will again be playing Stamkos and Pavel Kubina, but support will be coming from a lot of younger players including last season regular Victor Hedman, prospects Cory Conacher, Brett Connolly and Carter Ashton and new Bolts Ryan Shannon and Matt Gilroy. The Panthers will ice a mostly NHL lineup featuring the pre-season debuts of Jose Theodore, Steven Weiss, Kris Vergsteeg, Ed Jovanovski and Tomas Fleischmann. Many of last night's bubble players will sit in favor of the veterans, though Jonathan Huberdeau, Steve Reinprecht, Michal Repik, Evgeni Dadonov and Erik Gudbranson will get another chance to make a good impression on the coaching staff before the next round of cuts.
Injuries: None/unknown. Possibly Quinton Howden.
Healthy Scratches: Matt Bradley, Ryan Carter, Marcel Goc, Quinton Howden, Shawn Matthias, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall, Keaton Ellerby, Colby Robak, MIke Weaver.
Starting goaltenders: Jose Theodore will get the start for the Panthers and be backed up by Scott Clemmensen, while Mathieu Garon will get the start for the Lightning, backed up by Jaroslav Janus.
Booth - Kennedy - Kopecky
Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg
Bergenheim - Reinprecht - Repik
Huberdeau - Santorelli - Dadonov
Garrison - Campbell
Jovanovski - Gudbranson
Kulikov - Kostka