Final SO

Series (Game 3 of 6)

Tampa Bay leads 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 15th
Game 2: Monday, October 17th
Game 3: Sunday, November 6th
Game 4: Friday, November 25th
Game 5: Saturday, November 26th
Game 6: Saturday, February 4th

Lightning 4

(7-5-2, 16 pts)

Panthers 3

(6-4-3, 15 pts)

5:00 PM ET, November 6, 2011

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 SO T
TB 0 2 1 14
FLA 3 0 0 03

D. Roloson (Lightning - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

S. Stamkos (Lightning - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

T. Purcell (Lightning - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Lightning-Panthers Preview


The Tampa Bay Lightning aren't off to the start they envisioned after last season's success, in large part due to their struggles on the road.

A short trip across the state hasn't yielded great results in recent years, either.

The Florida Panthers look for their third win over Tampa Bay in the young season when they host the Lightning on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (6-5-2) has won five of its last seven games, though both losses came away from home. The Lightning are 1-4-2 on the road following their opening-night victory at Carolina, including a 3-2 shootout loss to Florida on Oct. 15.

The Panthers are 16-3-3 at home in this Southeast Division rivalry since the start of the 2005-06 season. They've won five of the last seven meetings at the BankAtlantic Center, with the last three going past regulation.

The Lightning went to overtime again Friday, beating Chicago 5-4. Vincent Lecavalier scored the winner off a feed from Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos recorded his fourth career hat trick with a trio of second-period goals.

Marc-Andre Bergeron, who had two goals and three assists in a home-and-home sweep of Florida last month, also assisted on Lecavalier's goal.

"Once we get settled in, we're a tough team to play against," said Stamkos, whose nine goals this season have come in the last 10 games.

St. Louis finished with three assists to give him at least one in six of his last seven games. He has nine points in that span after going scoreless in the last meeting with Florida, a 7-4 home loss Oct. 17.

"We keep pushing and got back our game a little bit and get rewarded," St. Louis said. "There's no such thing as a bad win in this league."

Any sort of win was tough to come by early on for coach Guy Boucher's team, which lost in seven games to Boston in last season's Eastern Conference finals.

"Our team has character, resilience and we continue to persist," Boucher told the team's official website. "We know we have that. We will never quit in any game and we need to remind ourselves of that. We built this attitude from last year and I'm real proud of this team."

Florida (6-4-2) finished at the bottom of the East last season but is off to a solid start, picking up at least a point in five of its last six games.

The Panthers, though, have lost back-to-back shootouts after a 3-2 defeat to Chicago on Thursday. However, they fought back from a 2-0 deficit for the second straight game, with Stephen Weiss and Ed Jovanovski each scoring in regulation.

"Any time you spot a very good team two goals it's tough to climb back into it," Jovanovski said. "We found a way, and forced overtime. It was a good point for us."

Jovanovski had two assists in Florida's most recent win over Tampa while Weiss and Kris Versteeg each had two goals and two assists, helping the Panthers go to 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings.

Dwayne Roloson allowed a career high-tying seven goals in that defeat and continues to struggle, giving up four in back-to-back games to raise his goals-against average to 3.71. The 42-year-old veteran is 2-3-1 with a 3.94 GAA in his last six starts versus Florida.

Jose Theodore has won nine straight starts against Tampa Bay, posting a 2.10 GAA, after stopping 63 of 69 shots in winning both meetings this season.