The Florida Panthers swept a home-and-home set from Tampa October. The Lightning get a chance to return the favor against their visiting Southeast Division rivals this evening at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning and Panthers have met four times already this season. Florida kicked off the season series by taking a pair of games from Tampa Bay on Oct. 15 and 17 before the Lightning countered with a 4-3 shootout win at Florida on Nov. 6.
The Lightning then visited the Panthers on Friday and escaped Sunrise with a 2-1 victory when Steven Stamkos scored on the power play 2:29 into overtime. He one-timed a pass from Martin St. Louis with Florida's Dmitry Kulikov in the box for interference.
"It feels great to know the game is over and get the two points," said Stamkos. "It was a real tight, defensive game our there. We're lucky to come out of here with a win."
Vinny Lecavalier scored the other goal for the Lightning, who had dropped four of five coming in. Mathieu Garon stopped 23 shots.
Seven of the past nine games between these two clubs have gone past regulation and Florida has won three of its last four trips to Tampa. The Lightning have also lost two straight at home since a 6-1-0 start there.
Tomas Fleischmann scored the lone goal while Jose Theodore made 29 saves for the Panthers, who had a three-game winning streak stopped as they notched seven of a possible eight points on their homestand.
"We didn't play our best game tonight," said Fleischmann. "We looked tired out there, but we should have found a way to win it in the third period."
Florida plays the first of four in a row on the road this evening and is 7-4-0 as the guest this season.