Fresh off their first win of the season, the Lightning try to make it two in a row Monday night when they host Southeast Division rival Florida.
After finishing last season 0-7-2 and opening 2009-10 with an 0-1-2 mark, Tampa Bay snapped its 12-game losing streak with Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Carolina.
“The guys did a good job of keeping it even keel,” said Malone, who had two goals and four assists against Florida last season. “That’s what it’s all about. So it’s good to see everybody come together and get two points.”
Tampa Bay last won two straight from March 12-14 - a 4-1 victory at Toronto and a 4-3 shootout win at Florida.
Lecavalier had three goals and three assists as Tampa Bay went 3-2-1 against Florida last season.
Martin St. Louis(notes) has two goals and six assists in his last three games versus the Panthers. St. Louis looks to extend his point streak to five Monday after recording two assists for the second straight game Saturday.
“We could have won the last three games,” St. Louis said. “Keep playing together, I like our chances to be successful.”
Florida (1-3-0) hasn’t enjoyed a victory since defeating Chicago 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 2 in its season opener in Finland. The Panthers lost their third straight Saturday, 3-2 to New Jersey, after falling 7-2 at Carolina on Friday.
“(The Devils) were sitting here waiting for you while you were on the road the night before, it isn’t the perfect scenario,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “Given the circumstances we gave ourselves a chance and it would have been nice to pick up a point.”
Making his first start of the season for Mike Smith(notes), who is 0-1-2 with a 3.16 GAA, Tampa Bay’s Antero Niittymaki(notes) had 24 saves Saturday, including 10 in the third period when the Lightning outscored the Hurricanes 3-0.
“You’re up by two goals, they’re going to come hard and they did,” Niittymaki told the club’s official Web site. “They had a couple of chances but overall we did awesome.”
Niittymaki, who spent the last five seasons with Philadelphia, is 4-2-1 with a 2.04 GAA in seven career starts against the Panthers.
Tampa Bay is 10-5-2 at home versus Florida since Feb. 14, 2004.