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Lightning looks for elusive road W vs. Panthers

By Roger Mooney
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) and Florida Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk battle for the puck during the first period on Oct. 7 in Sunrise. [Wilfredo Lee | Associated Press]

The Lightning (9-2-1) return to a building that has haunted them in recent years – the BB&T Center, where they have lost their past five games. Included was a 5-4 loss to the Panthers (4-5-1) during the second game of the season.

That game delivered a wake-up call, and the Lightning responded by pointing in each of their next nine games until Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Ducks.

“We’re definitely a more improved team than we were the last time we were here and for that matter, probably the last five times we’ve played these guys,” coach Jon Cooper said. “We opened up with them and were fortunate to get two points out of that game (a 5-3 win). Definitely didn’t deserve points out of the second game. But our team’s come a long way since then. That’s why I’m actually looking forward tonight to see where we stand. These 12 games, I consider Florida one of the top teams we played, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

The Lightning has improved defensively and did a much better job of limiting odd-man rushes and limiting Grade A scoring chances by its opponents since the last time they played in Sunrise.