|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, November 13, 2021
Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida Attendance: 19,092
Lightning's Mathieu Joseph looks to provide spark vs. Panthers
The Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper has found a reliable face in Mathieu Joseph among his new-look forward group.
The Lightning will try to square the series with the in-state rival Florida Panthers on Saturday night in the teams' second encounter this season.
On Oct. 19 in Tampa, the Panthers earned the third of their eight straight wins to open the season with a 4-1 victory over the Lightning.
But in the second of their four meetings in this campaign, Cooper will utilize an energetic presence among his forwards in Joseph, who has stood out from the club's new faces in the bottom six.
Gone from last year's Cup-winning team are Tyler Johnson and the entire third line of Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow. High-scoring right wing Nikita Kucherov is out with an injury sustained in Washington on Oct. 16.
Joseph, 24, has notched a goal and four assists in 12 games.
In Tuesday's 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina, his aggressive forecheck of defenseman Tony DeAngelo produced a loose puck and the game's first tally after Joseph's skillful pass to captain Steven Stamkos.
"Joseph's one of those guys who has definitely taken advantage of playing time. He's been especially great on the (penalty kill) and we've definitely needed it," said Cooper.
The other forwards around the Laval, Quebec, native have been underwhelming at best.
Veteran Corey Perry was brought in as a free agent and eventually awarded top-line minutes, but has managed just one assist in 12 games. Ross Colton - a enthusiastic breakout star last season who produced key goals -- has only one goal to show for his first 12 games.
In the first meeting, Florida's Brandon Montour, captain Aleksander Barkov, Anton Lundell and Anthony Duclair produced goals, and netminder Spencer Knight stopped 30 of 31 shots to record his first win.
Currently, the Panthers are trying to figure out exactly which team they are: The one that set the NHL on fire with a 10-0-1, 21-point start or the club that has presently lost three straight in an 0-2-1 road stretch.
Saturday's game in Tampa will conclude Florida's four-game road trip - primarily through the Northeast - and it will give the team the chance to tangle with the Lightning again.
Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss in Pittsburgh resulted in interim coach Andrew Brunette's team claiming a single point, but Florida's lack of finish on the power play and with multiple odd-man rushes had the coach wondering about the struggles.
With a top man-advantage unit that features Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett and point man Aaron Ekblad, the Panthers went an anemic 0-for-4 on the power play.
Included in those four advantages was a 91-second four-on-three power play to finish overtime after Jake Guentzel's hard contact and interference infraction in a collision with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
After going 3-for-5 on the power play against Carolina in Saturday's 5-3 home win, Florida is now scoreless over its last eight in the three losses.
"I think I've had concerns all year with it," Brunette said of his power-play unit, which put only two shots on goal at the end with two points within reach. "It's a little out of synch and not quite as smooth. It's been a little stagnant."
--Field Level Media
Updated November 13, 2021