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GameDay Caterwaul: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning

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Cats need a bounce back after deflating defeat on Saturday

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Panthers (8-2-2 18P) at Lightning (10-2-1 21P)

  • WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL
  • ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, SUN Sports
  • ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM (D/B), 640 WMEN (PB), 1370 WAXE (TC), Thunder 100.3 (Keys)
  • SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers, #GoBolts, #TBLvsFLA, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
  • ENEMY INTEL: Raw Charge
  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 3 of 8 (1-1-0)
  • LAST MEETING: TBL 6, @FLA 1 - (Recap) - 2/13/2021
  • NEXT MEETING: March 16, 2021
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Driedger (3-1-1 .937/ 1.97 0SO) vs McElhinney (1-0-0 .958/ 1.00 0SO)
  • PLAYER STATS: Florida / Tampa Bay

Scouting Report (courtesy of Field Level Media)

The Tampa Bay Lightning set the record straight with the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

Two nights after being drubbed 5-2 by their state rival, the reigning Stanley Cup champions poured it on in a 6-1 rout of the Panthers to split the two-game set in South Florida.

The clubs head north to Tampa for Monday night’s game for their third straight match.

With second-line center Anthony Cirelli out of the lineup with a significant upper-body injury, coach Jon Cooper turned to a familiar face in the middle: Tyler Johnson.

A former standout center who had landed on waivers before the season opened, Johnson scored twice to cap a four-goal second period.

The four-time 20-goal scorer relished the opportunity to play center and handle the puck more often.

The only issue at stake in the third period was whether goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy would record his first shutout this season. Florida’s Frank Vatrano spoiled the Russian netminder’s bid with his third goal of the season.

Johnson said Thursday’s setback in which they were completely outplayed by their Sunshine State opposition was a wake-up call.

Added Cooper, “I liked everything. It was a little humbling experience the other night.”

Quenneville could turn to Chris Driedger in net on Monday as the Panthers try to break a four-way tie for second place in the Central Division and move closer to the first-place Lightning.

Driedger has posted a 3-1-1 mark, a .937 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average this season after a breakout campaign in 2019-20.

Two-time Vezina Trophy recipient Sergei Bobrovsky was bombarded by the Lightning’s second-period siege and slipped to 5-1-1 on the season. He yielded six goals on 28 shots in the loss.

But MacKenzie Weegar said Saturday’s disappointment wasn’t about the goaltending and more about he and his teammates’ lack of readiness to battle with the Bolts again.

Monday in the Central (Standings/Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • COLUMBUS (7-5-4 18P) at CAROLINA (9-3-0 18P) 7 p.m.
  • CHICAGO (7-5-4 18P) at DETROIT (4-10-2 10P) 7:30 p.m. ESPN+
  • NASHVILLE (6-9-0 12P) at DALLAS (5-3-4 14P) 8:30 p.m.

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