(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will try to exact a measure of revenge against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, as the Sunshine State rivals clash at BB&T Center.
The Lightning and Panthers met for the first of four meetings this season on Oct. 10 in Tampa and the Bolts wound up routing Florida by a 7-2 score. Steven Stamkos notched his sixth career hat trick in the blowout, leading Tampa Bay to its eighth win in 10 tries against the Panthers.
Florida has lost its last four home games against the Lightning, although three of those setbacks came after regulation.
The Lightning enter Sunrise, Fla. having won two straight and four of their last five games. Tampa completed a seven-game homestand with a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, wrapping the residency with a 5-2-0 record. Martin St. Louis and Ondrej Palat scored less than two minutes apart late in the final period to boost the Tampa to the 3-2 win.
"Good teams find a way to win," St. Louis said. "It's not always going to be perfect, we're not looking for perfection, we're looking for results."
Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist, and Ben Bishop made 20 stops for the win.
The Lightning are opening a three-game road trip tonight and also will visit New Jersey and Carolina during the swing. Tampa is 2-1-0 as the road team this season.
The Panthers, who are just 3-7-1 on the season, have dropped two straight and five of their last six games. Florida allowed Buffalo to win just its second game of the season on Friday night, dropping a 3-1 home decision against the Sabres. Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson scored late in the third period to send Buffalo to the road win.
"The game was in doubt right until the final minute so I don't think we tightened up," Florida head coach Kevin Dineen said. "We continued to get scoring chances and the push was there. It's a hard loss for us."
Jesse Winchester provided the sole offense for the Panthers, who received 18 stops from Jacob Markstrom in their fifth loss in six contests.
With Tim Thomas sidelined by a groin injury, Markstrom expects to get the start again on Sunday. Markstrom is 2-3-0 with a 3.89 goals against average in five career games against the Bolts.
Florida is 1-2-1 so far on a six-game homestand that is set to end Friday against St. Louis. The Panthers are 2-3-1 on home ice this season.