TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: 6-6-1 (13 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-6-2 (12 PTS).
GAME DAY SONG: The Fuse by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Two struggling Florida teams will face off this afternoon when the reeling Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise, Florida. The Lightning who started out hot, are now 0-5-1 in their last six games and are 1-4-0 on the road for the season find themselves just two points ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa has beaten Florida the past five times they’ve met including January 29th by a score of 5-2. That was the game where BJ Crombeen hit Ed Jovanovski knee on knee and we haven’t seen Jovo since. Also of note during the Lightning’s latest winless streak is that their high powered offence hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of those six games. The last time Tampa won was the very next game they played after beating the Panthers when they manhandled Winnipeg 8-3.
Tampa’s struggles can also be attributed to their suddenly anemic power play during this losing streak, which is only 2 for it’s last 18, while being outshot 186 to 147. Tampa lost a close one to Washington on Thursday by a score of 4-3, but coach Guy Boucher is trying to remain optimistic throughout the streak:
“Either we just stay close and keep grinding and we come out of this, it’s still going to be a fight after we win one game,” said coach Guy Boucher, whose team went 0-6-1 from Jan. 3-15, 2012.
“It won’t change anything in terms of how we’re supposed to play, we’re just trying to be more consistent at it and get a bit of something positive out of it.”