SUNRISE (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are both trying to get their respective seasons back on track.
The Panthers will look to sweep a home-and-home series with their Sunshine State rivals when they host the Lightning on Monday.
The Panthers begin a five-game homestand after defenseman Aaron Ekblad’s power-play goal in the final minute of regulation tied Saturday’s contest before they won in a shootout at Tampa Bay.
Florida likely will be without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (lower body), but center Aleksander Barkov (hand) could return after a 10-game absence.
While the Panthers have won two of their last three contests, the Lightning are just 3-6-1 in their last 10 after a strong start to the campaign.
Tampa Bay is beginning to break out of its scoring slump as it has scored seven goals in its last two contests – earning points in both – but still is searching for the form that led to a trip to the Stanley Cup Final last spring.
“We are getting some confidence back with how we want to play,” Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman told reporters. “We just have to eliminate those times where we lose control of a game.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TVA, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (8-8-3): Vladislav Namestnikov produced two goals Saturday in his second game since being moved to a line with captain Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan.
Stamkos has collected four goals and three assists over his last seven games after being held without a point in four consecutive contests late last month.
The Lightning’s penalty-killing unit has allowed a goal in each of the last three games after a long stretch of success, while their power play is just 2-for-14 in the last five contests.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (7-7-3): Barkov’s return could be a real boost for the Panthers, but Vincent Trocheck has done a solid job while receiving a bigger role in his absence.
Trocheck has scored three goals in his last five games and tied veteran Jaromir Jagr for the team lead with 13 points – one more than Jussi Jokinen, who has recorded five in as many contests.
Jagr, who moved into 10th place on the all-time list with 1,565 games played, has registered just six shots in his last seven contests – none on Saturday.
- Tampa Bay G Ben Bishop, who gave up more than two goals for the first time in seven games Saturday, is 6-1-1 lifetime against Florida.
- Ekblad, who won the Calder Trophy last season, leads Florida with 42 shots on goal.
- Stamkos has registered 25 goals in 36 career games against the Panthers and is one shy of 100 career power-play tallies.
The Panthers face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, November 16th at 7:30 p.m. You can hear every game on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, the radio home of the Florida Panthers.
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