Sports

Bolts try to extend series win streak over Panthers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to keep pace in a crowded Atlantic Division on Sunday night when they shoot for a sixth straight win over the Florida Panthers.

The Lightning are sitting second in the division with 82 points, five back of the first-place Montreal Canadiens but also just one point up on the Detroit Red Wings.

Tampa Bay returned home on Friday following a 3-2-0 road trip to notch a solid 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bolts return home for three in a row after this contest starting on Tuesday.

Ben Bishop helped make the Lightning's return to Amalie Arena a successful one as he posted 28 saves in his second shutout of the season and 10th of his career.

Tampa Bay was outshot 10-7 in a scoreless first period, but scored twice in the second frame to break things open.

"They kind of took it to us in the beginning," Bishop said. "Once we got warm, we kept it going."

Steven Stamkos scored twice to give him 34 goals on the season, six of those coming in his past seven games, while Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan added tallies.

The Lightning have not faced the Panthers since a 3-2 home overtime victory on Oct. 9 to begin the season. That was the first of four meetings this season between the clubs and Tampa Bay won it on Victor Hedman's goal 1:11 into the extra frame.

Bishop made 19 saves to remain perfect in his career versus Florida, moving to 5-0-0 with a 1.89 goals against average and .918 save percentage in five meetings.

Roberto Luongo made 29 saves for the Panthers, who have lost 12 of their last 14 overall against the Lightning and six straight as the hosting club.

Al Montoya will start today for Florida and is 5-2-0 in his career versus the Lightning with a 2.24 GAA and .923 save percentage in eight games (7 starts).

The Panthers turn to their backup goaltender after Luongo made 11 saves in Saturday's 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. The win snapped Florida's four-game slide and has the club four points back of a wild card spot.

While Jaromir Jagr was making his Panthers debut, Brandon Pirri stole the show with a pair of power-play goals in his return to the lineup. Pirri had missed the previous nine games with an upper-body injury.

Florida also received goals from Nick Bjugstad, Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie while Jagr was scoreless with three shots on goal. Jussi Jokinen and Brad Boyes each had three assists.

"Against a team like Buffalo, which hasn't had the best year, those are games you gotta win," said Upshall.

The Panthers have now split the first two of a seven-game homestand.

Florida traded Tomas Fleischmann to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday for forward Dany Heatley and a 2015 third-round pick. Fleischmann had seven goals and 14 assists this season with the Panthers.

Heatley was assigned to Florida's American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio.