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What to watch this weekend in Tampa Bay sports

The Lightning open the NHL season in Tampa, while the Bucs travel to New Orleans.
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, left, stops a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli as Panthers left wing Mike Hoffman trails the play during an overtime period of an NHL preseason hockey game. [CHRIS O'MEARA | AP]
Published Oct. 2

LIGHTNING: THE PUCK DROPS HERE

Can the Bolts cure the symptoms of their playoff collapse last season after dominating the NHL? The road to redemption starts Thursday night when Tampa Bay opens the 2019-20 season at home against the Florida Panthers. The teams play again Saturday across the state in Sunrise. (The Lightning follow up their first road game with one Sunday at Carolina.) Ticket prices vary. 7 p.m. Thursday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500. ticketmaster.com. TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 970-AM.

BUCS: BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS

Tampa Bay scored 55 points in the wild, upset road win over the Rams (but allowed 517 passing yards!), and the next two weeks will give us a good read on whether they can contend in the NFC South with consecutive division games. First up, it’s the Saints at New Orleans. The Saints are without Drew Brees — that has to be a good thing, right? 1 p.m. Sunday. TV/radio: Fox; 97.9-FM.

BICYCLING: RAILS TO TRAILS

Cyclists of all skill levels can explore old-Florida charm at the annual Rails to Trails ride that begins and ends at the trail head in Inverness. The 46-mile paved Withlacoochee State Trail takes riders on a meandering trip through one of the top destination trails in the country. There will be a continental breakfast before setting out for a ride of up to 100 miles. It ends with a catered lunch and medals for those who complete the Century (100 mile) and Metric Century (62 mile) rides. $40-$45, $15 children. 7 a.m. Sunday. Inverness Trail Head, 315 N Apopka Ave., Inverness. (352) 513-4183.

RUNNING

Halloween Glo Run: Put on a running-friendly costume for this untimed, glow-in-the-dark trail run. $10, $20 family. 8 p.m. Saturday. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016.

PCOS Challenge: A 5K run-walk to benefit the fight against Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. $25, $10 ages 12 and younger. 7 a.m. Saturday. Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa. (404) 855-7244. events.pcoschallenge.org.

Michael DaCosta Memorial Run: A 5K run with a dog costume contest. Benefits Kind Mouse to feed Pinellas County children. $40-$50, $10 kids. 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Walsingham Park, 12615 102nd Ave. N, Largo. (727) 518-5575.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Lightning's Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson (9) are stifled by Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) during the first period of Saturday's game against Colorado. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa Bay is looking to string more wins together, starting with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
  2. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) runs for a large gain against East Carolina last season at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls coach says his receivers “haven’t made any plays” in 2019.
  3. Packers' Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown pass in front of the Raiders' Johnathan Hankins Sunday. Rodgers threw for five touchdowns and rushed for a sixth for Green Bay. JEFFREY PHELPS  |  AP
    Road to Miami Gardens: Rodgers’ six-touchdown effort highlights Week 7 in the NFL
  4. Florida Gators head coach Mike White, right, takes selfie photos with Gators fan Zev Goodman, 13, during open practice that was available to the public at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday. Tonight the Nov. 4 Gators take on the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
    Florida State wasn’t ranked but received votes.
  5. MONICA HERNDON  |   Times Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt is seen on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers in their ACC Championship game Saturday, Dec. 02, 2017 in Charlotte, NC. TAMPA BAY TIMES
    Richt, 59, wrote that he still plans to work for the ACC Network later this week.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  7. New Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk hopes to rebound from a disappointing two-year stint with the Rangers. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Like Tampa Bay, the former Ranger has something to prove this season | Martin Fennelly
  8. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
  9. Jameis Winston is on pace to gain 4,700 yards this season and throw 32 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions. All of which would be career highs. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Franchise-altering decisions loom for Tampa Bay as it nears the halfway point of the season. Among them: Should the Bucs be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? How much stock should they place in...
  10. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp says he doesn't want to take anything away from Florida, but he doesn't want to keep quiet about the officiating either. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The South Carolina coach says getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct was "gutless.''
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