Time of the season; Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers preview

WHERE: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida
WHEN: 7:30 EST | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 970 WFLA (radio),
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Litter Box Cats, On Frozen Pond

Though a team meeting took place after the defeat in Winnipeg more than a week ago, one where Head Coach Guy Boucher thought the team had made a conscious decision to save their season, results of the past week have said otherwise.

The Bolts are sub-.500 with their deceptive 9-9-2 record (11 losses - forget the overtime loss column). They are 1-4 in their past five games, being outscored 18-8 over that span. And now they will close out 2011 with the team playing 10 of their next 17 games on the road

And to top it all off, look at the standings - one perception could state the Lightning are in a three-way tie for third place in the division. The other way of looking at it, is to say they're tired for last.

Southeast Standings

Florida 21 12 6 3 27
Washington 20 12 7 1 25
Tampa Bay 20 9 9 2 20
Winnipeg 21 8 9 4 20
Carolina 23 8 11 4 20

(updated 11.25.2011 at 9:48 AM EST)

The Panthers are looking to solidify their first-lace position in the division, and potentially help their playoff seeding. As for the Lightning? GM Steve Yzerman says the team isn't internally panicking and won't make moves jsut for the sake of doing so:

"I never believe you do something just to do something," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "You just try to make the team better, whether that's through recalling somebody or a trade. I'm not going to react. You just have to assess your team."

The promotion of Dana Tyrell (and today's demotion of Blair Jones) was hinted on prior to the blowout loss to Toronto... That wasn't a knee-jerk move.

But can it be a catalyst that improves the consistency of the Lightning?

As I noted before the jump, Blair Jones was sent to AHL Norfolk. He passed through Waivers yesterday, with his demotion coming today. The Ads (10-8-1, tied for 2nd place in their division) enthusiastically welcome back their all-time leading scorer:

In 274 career games as an Admiral, Jones has 181 points on 67 goals and 114 assists. He ranks first in points, third in assists, fourth in goals, fifth in games played, tied for second in game-winning goals (12) and first in shots (804) in AHL Admirals history.

Mathieu Garon will get the start in net, as Dwayne Roloson's inconsistency will place him on the bench perhaps for more than the next two games. Then again? If Garon is overworked tonight, how can you expose him to a second potential bombardment when the teams face off again in Tampa tomorrow?

Another note - with Tyrell back in the lineup, rumors and innuendos would immediately suggest that the famed D-N-A line of Tyrell, Nate Thompson and Adam Hall would get back together again... And that seems to be the case from reports at practice.

Steve Downie accompanied the Bolts to Sunrise but is not participating in the morning skate. If he plays tonight is anyone's guess.

Other Previews

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