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The Tampa Bay Lightning are grateful that their home losing streak is in past, but hardly satisfied. Perhaps some continued success against the Florida Panthers will increase their collective optimism.
Looking to win back-to-back games in Tampa for the first time this season, the Lightning try for a fifth consecutive home victory over the struggling Panthers on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay (8-8-2) was held to one goal each during a three-game home skid that ended Thursday when it modestly broke out for a 3-1 victory over Calgary. Steven Stamkos scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal in the third period and Ben Bishop made 30 saves to snap a personal five-game losing streak as the Lightning won for the third time in the last 10 games.
"Hopefully was can build off of this," Bishop told the NHL's official website. "We're not going to celebrate anything over one win. We have to build on what we did right and keep things going in the right direction. It's time to start peaking."
Tampa Bay can start by turning things around at home, where it went a league-best 32-8-1 in 2014-15, but is 3-4-0 this season. The Lighting are converting 24.0 percent of their power-play chances there and have scored with the man advantage in all but one of those contest. However, they haven't totaled more than three goals in any at home after doing so 20 times last season.
The Lightning hope their 11 shots and two goals from the third period Thursday are a sign of good things to come.
"With that last 10, 12 minutes, the boys were getting after it," coach Jon Cooper said. "They sense it was a game to win, and they went and took it. That's something we've had trouble with of late.
"We're on home ice, it's 1-1 in the third. You've got to win those."
The Lightning have won 14 of their last 17 overall against Florida (6-7-3), and averaged 4.4 goals while going 7-1-1 at home during that stretch. Stamkos has 43 points over 35 career games against the Panthers.
Bishop, who despite his recent slide has a 1.52 goals-against average in his last six starts, is 6-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA against Florida. He's undefeated in three home meetings against the Panthers with Tampa Bay.
Florida has gone 1 for 9 on the power play and been outscored 11-5 in regulation and overtime while going 0-2-1 on the road this month. The Panthers weren't much better at home despite owning a 38-19 shot-advantage in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Buffalo.
They've been held to one or two goals six times during their current 1-4-2 stretch.
"Hopefully, it's going to go in more often but it would have been nice to get a win out of it (Thursday)," Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. "It (stinks), but we have to think positive because we're playing another good team Saturday."
The Panthers didn't help themselves by allowing a third straight opponent to score on its only power-play opportunity of the game.
Roberto Luongo made 16 saves but has a 3.01 GAA during a 1-3-1 stretch. He's posted a 3.55 GAA during a four-game losing streak against the Lightning.
Huberdeau has four points in the last five games but scored his first goal after recording a career-high 15 last season. He had two with three assists in four games against Tampa Bay in 2014-15.
The teams meet again at Tampa on Monday, when the Panthers could possibly have center Aleksander Barkov back. The talented center has three goals and three assists but hasn't played since breaking his hand Oct. 22.