The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered one difficult loss last time out and return to the site of their only other setback this season Monday night when they visit the Atlantic Division-rival Florida Panthers. The Lightning, who lost for the fifth straight time at Florida on Oct. 7 in a 5-4 decision, saw their nine-game point streak (8-0-1) come to an end Saturday night with a 4-1 defeat against Anaheim.
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos and linemate Nikita Kucherov also were held off the scoresheet for the first time this season after stringing together 11-game point streaks to tie Martin St. Louis for the franchise record to start a campaign. “It’s great when you are on it,” Stamkos told reporters. “It’s not the end of the world, we’ll hopefully start another one next game.” The Lightning gave up a season-high 48 shots in the loss at Florida earlier this month and the Panthers have points in four of five contests (3-1-1) at home in 2017-18. Florida, which is near the bottom of the league in goals against per game (3.50), recorded eight goals in a victory over Anaheim on Thursday before producing 46 shots two days later despite suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (9-2-1): Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy should be back in net after sitting out for the second time this season Saturday, and hopes to tie John Grahame (2005) for the club record by winning his ninth straight decision. Chris Kunitz had the only goal Saturday for his second of the season while his fourth-line mates J.T. Brown and Ryan Callahan matched him with a second point in three contests. Stamkos still leads the league with 21 points and Kucherov owns an NHL-best 12 goals entering Sunday despite managing just four shots combined against Anaheim.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (4-5-1): Evgenii Dadonov boasts three goals and an assist in the last two games to forge a tie with fellow forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck at 11 points apiece. James Reimer earned the victory against Tampa Bay earlier in the season and has been in net for every game since Roberto Luongo went down with a hand injury, going 2-1-1 in the last four starts. With forwards Jared McCann (lower-body), Colton Sceviour (upper-body) and Connor Brickley (upper-body) out, Chase Balisy made his NHL debut and had two shots in 10:47 on Saturday.
1. Florida C Aleksander Barkov has all of his three goals in the last five games, but managed just one in 16 career contests versus Tampa Bay.
2. Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman needs one goal to pass Dan Boyle (66) for second on the team’s all-time list for blueliners. He is six behind Pavel Kubina.
3. The Panthers have outshot the Lightning 84-55 despite only splitting the first two meetings this season.
PREDICTION: Panthers 4, Lightning 2