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LBC GameDay Caterwaul: Panthers at Lightning

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Game 45: Finally back on home (state) ice to conclude six-game 3-1-1 trip, Cats face suddenly streaking Bolts

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Panthers (26-13-5 57P) at Tampa Bay Lightning (23-17-4 50P)

  • WHEN: 5:00 p.m. ET - LBC GameThread right here at 4:30ish
  • WHERE: Amalie Arena - Tampa, FL

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  • ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, SUN Sports
  • ON THE DIAL: Check local listings - 560, 640, 760, 1210 (AM); 97.7, 107.9 (FM); Official App
  • SOCIALLY SPEAKING: #FlaPanthers, #TBLightning, #FLAvsTBL, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook page
  • ENEMY INTEL: Raw Charge
  • SB NATION: Game Hub

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  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 3 of 5 (2-0)
  • ALL-TIME vs TBL: 60W-37L-10T 5OTL 7SOL 366GF 323GA
  • ALL-TIME at TBL: 26W-25L-6T 1OTL 2SOL 177GF 169GA
  • LAST FIVE vs TBL: 3-2-0 13GF 15GA

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  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Luongo (19-12-4 .927/2.18 3SO), Bishop (17-13-3 .926/2.00 2SO)
  • JAGR WATCH: All-time vs TBL (regular season): 73GP 34G-45A 79P 6GWG
  • PLAYER STATS: FloridaTampa Bay

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NOTES:

Florida head coach Gerard Gallant returns to the bench following a one-game absence (family leave)...D Aaron Ekblad (upper-body) remains sidelined today & tomorrow vs Edmonton as well; it has been speculated he may be back in the lineup at home Friday against Chicago...LW Jonathan Huberdeau has 12P (4) in 15 games vs TBL...likewise C Nick Bjugstad is 3-3-6 in 8 appearances...G Roberto Luongo: 15-14-1 (4SO) against the Lightning...the Panthers host Tampa Bay next Saturday...C Steven Stamkos (20G) and RW Nikita Kucherov (16G) pace the Bolts with 35 points each...in his career vs FLA, Stamkos has 45P (25G) in 37 games against the Panthers with 6 gamewinners...TBO.com's Erik Erlendsson has a terrific look at what is (hopefully) the beginning of a long-needed rivalry between the two Sunshine State clubs.

NHL.com Preview:

The Florida Panthers have defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning twice this season. Center Brandon Pirri scored the only goal in the shootout in a 5-4 win Nov. 14 at Amalie Arena. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored with 20.2 seconds left and Roberto Luongo made 39 saves in a 1-0 win at BB&T Center two days later. Ekblad had two goals and right wing Reilly Smith had two assists for Florida. (More)

Yahoo.com Preview:

Ben Bishop is 6-1-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average in eight starts against the Panthers. Florida is enduring an 0-for-13 drought on the power play in its last six games while Tampa Bay ended an 0-for-12 stretch over five games by converting twice in five attempts in Friday's 5-4 overtime home win over Pittsburgh. (More)

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Last game for the Cats: Let's simply say there was a hiccup in CalgaryPast five: 3-1-1 12GF 13GA (streak: 2L)

Last game for the Bolts: 5-4 (OT) home victory vs Pittsburgh Friday. Past five: 4-1-0 16GF 11GA (streak: 4W)

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Sunday in the Atlantic Division (Standings / Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • MONTREAL (23-18-4 50P) at Chicago (30-13-4 64P), 7:00
  • Philadelphia (19-15-8 46P) at DETROIT (23-14-7 53P), 7:30 NBCSN
  • Idle: BOS (51P), OTT (48P), BUF (40P), TOR (39P)

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Panthers, SoFla Media & Loyal Opposition on the Tweets

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