Lightning host struggling Panthers

12:06 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning try to keep their perfect home record intact on Tuesday night as they play host to the struggling Florida Panthers.

The Lightning and Panthers are headed in opposite directions and are coming off vastly different results against the same opponent over the weekend. Tampa Bay notched a 5-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, one day after the Flyers pounded the hosting Panthers by a 7-1 margin.

Anders Lindback yielded a goal 59 seconds in for the Bolts, but was perfect the rest of the way and ended with 24 saves. He was backed by power-play goals from Teddy Purcell and Vincent Lecavalier, while Steven Stamkos, Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman all added goals.

"It was huge," Lecavalier said. "Guys are doing a great job and overall we played a 60-minute game. We've been playing some good hockey, but tonight was 60 minutes."

Martin St. Louis extended his hot start by notching four assists, giving him eight helpers and 11 points through the first five games. That has helped Tampa Bay win each of its first three home games, including the initial two on a current five-game residency.

The Lightning have outscored their opponents 15-6 over a three-game winning streak overall and have also seen Stamkos log three goals and 10 points over the first five games.

The Panthers, meanwhile, haven't had much success -- or many goals -- since opening the season with a win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes as they have since been outscored 18-3 over a four-game slide.

Jose Theodore lasted just 20 minutes in Saturday's defeat, allowing three goals on nine shots. Scott Clemmensen didn't fare any better over the final two frames as he was beaten four times on 17 shots.

It is unknown who will start this game.

Peter Mueller scored Florida's lone goal on a breakaway late in the second period to make it a 4-1 game, but the Flyers came right back with a goal 37 seconds later.

Florida head coach Kevin Dineen was blunt in his assessment of the game.

"We got our tails handed to us in every way," he said before eventually cutting his postgame conference short.

While Dineen refused to blame injuries on his team's current troubles, the Panthers did play on Saturday without Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc.

Versteeg, though, could make his season debut in this game after sitting out the first five games due to a lower body injury. The winger was second on Florida last season with 23 goals.

The Panthers won their first two versus the Lightning last season before dropping the final four encounters and have lost three of their past four in Tampa.

The Sports Network

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