Preview: Panthers @ Lightning, 3/26/16

Game #75
Florida Panthers (41-24-9 / 91 PTS) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (43-26-5 / 91 PTS)
Saturday, March 26th, 2016 – 7:00PM EST
Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL

Between the Lines

The Panthers will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning for the fifth time this season and in the biggest game thus far on Saturday night. Florida is coming off a massive win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, a game in which they allowed the first goal but scored the next 4 thanks to Reilly Smith, Vincent Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen, and an empty-netter from Jonathan Huberdeau to get the victory. Roberto Luongo made some really key saves, including one on former teammate Jimmy Hayes, and also got some help from the league which confirmed a ‘no goal’ call on the ice in the 3rd period despite it appearing as though the puck actually crossed the goal line.

Willie Mitchell is reportedly close to a return, however whether he returns or not is up to him. Mitchell, according to GM Dale Tallon, is mulling retirement after team doctors suggested that he not return for the sake of his health should he sustain another concussion. The 38-year old defender has been out of the lineup since last playing on January 18th against Edmonton after sustaining a concussion around that time. Mitchell also sustained a concussion at the beginning of February last season and returned about a month later.

The Lightning are coming off a 7-4 win over the Islanders on Friday night and will face the Panthers in the second game of a back-to-back. Tampa received goals from Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos, Andrej Sustr, Tyler Johnson, Jason Garrison, and Victor Hedman. Anton Stralman exited the game in the 1st period with what ended up being a fractured left fibula, so he’ll miss Saturday’s tilt against the Panthers. Ben Bishop started against the Islanders so it’s likely that Andrej Vasilevskiy will start in net against the Panthers.

The two teams last met on January 23rd when the Panthers got goals from Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau, Brian Campbell, Nick Bjugstad, and Reilly Smith to defeat the Lightning 5-2.

Projected Line Combinations

11 Huberdeau – 16 Barkov – 68 Jagr L1 17 Killorn – 91 Stamkos – 86 Kucherov
36 Jokinen – 21 Trocheck – 18 Smith L2 18 Palat – 9 Johnson – 81 Marchessault
26 Purcell – 27 Bjugstad – 24 Hudler L3 13 Pacquette – 90 Namestnikov– 23 Brown
28 Wilson – 41 McKegg – 48 Shaw L4 46 Blunden – 11 Boyle – 22 Condra
51 Campbell – 5 Ekblad D1 55 Coburn – 77 Hedman
Kulikov 3 Kampfer D2 5 Garrison – 62 Sustr
46 Kindl – Petrovic D3 89 Nesterov – 25 Carle
1 Luongo – 35 Montoya G 88 Vasileskiy – 30 Bishop
Thornton, Howden, MacKenzie, Gudbranson X Callahan, Filppula, Stralman
Mitchell, Bolland INJ Ohlund

Top 5 Scorers

Florida Panthers

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Jaromir Jagr 24 32 56
2. Jussi Jokinen 16 30 56
3. Vincent Trocheck 24 28 52
4. Jonathan Huberdeau 14 35 49
5. Reilly Smith 24 23 47

Tampa Bay Lightning

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Nikita Kucherov 29 33 62
2. Steven Stamkos 35 26 61
3. Victor Hedman 7 35 42
4. Alex Killorn 13 25 38
5. Tyler Johnson 13 23 36

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Florida Panthers

Name Record Save % GAA
Roberto Luongo 30-18-6 .921 2.37

Tampa Bay Lightning

Name Record Save % GAA
Andrei Vasilevskiy 11-7-0 .915 2.63

One thought on “Preview: Panthers @ Lightning, 3/26/16

  1. Don’t feel too much guilt over the goal Boston lost Thursday night. They received a gift goal on a blown offisde goal review that only two days earlier penalized the Panthers for remarkably similar circumstances. A season sweep of TBL would be nice but the Lightning have picked up their games while the Panthers hope a strong finish will enable them to regain their midseason brilliance. Safe travels to Panthers fans making the trip to Amalie Arena today!


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