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Bolts @ Cats 7:30 PM Tonight!


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Eastern Conference Leader Tampa Bay Visits Prowling Panthers Saturday

SUNRISE - All-Star Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers will host Martin St. Louis and Tampa Bay this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when the Lightning travel across the state for another installment of the Nextel Florida Challenge. The Cats and Bolts meet for the fifth time this season, and for the final time in South Florida during the regular season. Florida has earned victories in each of the games played in the Office Depot Center this year, going 2-1-1-0 against the Lightning.


TV: Fox Sports Net.


RADIO: WQAM 560 and ESPN 760. Listen live!


NEXTEL FLORIDA CHALLENGE: The Cats and Bolts battle in the fifth game of the Nextel Florida Challenge this evening. The Panthers have picked up five out of a possible eight points in the first four games, and with a win tonight they will clinch the inaugural challenge. This competition between the two rivals, will pay the club that wins the season series $5,000 towards their team's charitable foundation.


PLAYING THE LIGHTNING: The Cats are 2-1-1-0 against the Lightning this season. G Roberto Luongo has a 1.48 goals against average and .961 save percentage in the three games against the Bolts this year. LW Kristian Huselius (0-3-3), LW Marcus Nilson (0-3-3) and D Mike Van Ryn (2-1-3) all have three points against the Bolts this year. After this evening's game, the two clubs close out the season set on April 1 in Tampa Bay.




Nov. 11 - Panthers vs. Lightning 4-0 W


ec. 31 - Panthers @ Lightning 2-2 T


Jan. 17 - Panthers vs. Lightning 2-1 W


Feb. 14 - Panthers @ Lightning 3-2 L


Mar. 6 - Panthers vs. Lightning


Apr. 1 - Panthers @ Lightning




HOME SWEET HOME: The Panthers have lost just four times in regulation (New Jersey 3/4, Washington 2/27, Philadelphia 1/2 & Colorado 1/21) in their last 19 home contests going 9-4-4-2. Florida has earned 24 points in their last 19 home games. With their 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday, Jan. 17, Florida earned their ninth home win of the season surpassing their total of eight from last season.


BETWEEN THE PIPES: Prior to allowing Brian Willsie's third period goal (4:47) on Feb. 27 vs. Washington, G Roberto Luongo established a new franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes going 182:37 without allowing a goal. The streak began in Washington on Feb. 21 when the Capitals' Sergei Gonchar scored at 7:10 of the third period. Over Luongo's past nine outings he has posted four shutouts (Feb. 20 @ Pittsburgh, Feb. 23 @ Boston, Feb. 25 vs. Toronto & Mar. 3 @ Washington) going 4-2-3 over that span. He ranks first in the NHL making 1,945 saves and places second among league leaders with a .935 save percentage. He also places third among league leaders with seven shutout. He recorded his career best 21st win of the season on Mar. 2 at Washington.


BURE BRINGING IT: RW Valeri Bure has a three-game(1-2-3) point scoring streak in tact and paces the team with 43 points (18-25-43) and 25 assists.


ON TARGET: C Olli Jokinen has notched 12 points (4-8-12) in his last 14 games. With his goal on Mar. 3 against the Caps, Jokinen now has 70 as a Panther, moving him into sixth on the club's all-time goal scoring list. In addition, he ranks first on the club with eight power play tallies and six-game winners.


IN THE RECORD BOOKS: With his seventh shutout of the season on Mar. 2 @ Washington, G Roberto Luongo broke the franchise mark of six set by him last season. With 1,945 saves through 61 games, Luongo has set a new franchise record for saves in one season, breaking his mark of 1,847 set last season. Additionally, with seven more victories he would break the club single-season record of 27 set by John Vanbiesbrouck in 1996-97. Moreover, after playing in five more games he would break his own team mark of 65 played in a season, also set last year. With two more ties, Luongo would break the club single-season mark of 14 set by Sean Burke in 1998-99. Luongo is also within reach of the team's single-season record for GAA (2.29-Vanbiesbrouck in 1996-97) and save percentage (.924-Vanbiesbrouck in 1993-94).


YOUTH IS SERVED: With his 1-0 blanking of Washington on March 2, G Roberto Luongo ranks first among NHL active goaltenders in shutouts, prior to turning 25. Luongo who turns 25 on April 4, 2004, recorded his 23rd career shutout last night against the Caps.


SO NAME 23 Roberto Luongo

22 Martin Brodeur

15 Chris Osgood

13 Jocelyn Thibault

13 Nikolai Khabibulin



FANTASTIC FEBRUARY: With their 2-2 tie in Chicago on Feb. 29, the Cats completed February with a 6-4-3-0 mark, earning 15 of a possible 26 points. Since the beginning of the season, the Panthers have increased their point totals each month.

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I was there last night...Crazy Game, really exciting even though we lost.


I'm not sure if they showed it on T.V. but Hordichuk was kicking the living crap out of Roy on the ice. It went on for about 4 minutes. crazy.


Anyways, definately some moves have to be made in order to make a serious run, last night showed the flaws of the team. But I believe we can make some adjustments and make it to the playoffs.

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