Final - 2OT
  for this game

Lightning try to get back on track vs. Panthers

Feb 19, 2011 - 4:24 PM (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to avoid a third straight loss when they welcome the rival Florida Panthers for tonight's Southeast Division battle at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Lightning were dealt a shootout loss by Philadelphia on Tuesday and were pounded in Thursday's 6-2 setback to the Detroit Red Wings. The consecutive losses dropped Tampa to 5-3-1 on its 12-game homestand and the Bolts enter tonight with just a four-point lead over idle Washington for first place in the division.

Tampa hasn't had a three-game skid since it dropped three straight in regulation from Nov. 11-14.

The Lightning are hoping the acquisition of veteran defenseman Eric Brewer can help get the team back on track, as the former St. Louis Blues captain is expected to make his Tampa debut tonight. Brewer was acquired by the Bolts on Friday for defensive prospect Brock Beukeboom and a third- round pick in the upcoming draft.

The 31-year-old Brewer played nearly six seasons in St. Louis after his acquisition from the Edmonton Oilers. He had eight goals and 14 points in 54 games for the Blues this season.

Tampa would like to shore up its defense this evening after the blowout loss to Detroit. Pavel Datsyuk registered two goals to help lead the Red Wings to Thursday's easy 6-2 win at the Forum. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was also key in the victory, as he stopped 38 of Tampa's 40 shots on goal.

"I thought [Howard] played really well. We had some great quality chances and some good shots, but didn't make it happen," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher.

Victor Hedman and Steve Downie tallied for the Lightning, who fell to 19-7-3 on home ice this season. Dwayne Roloson allowed all six goals on 31 shots in defeat.

Tampa defenseman Matt Smaby has sat out the last two games with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight's contest.

The Panthers have lost two straight, four of five and seven of their last nine games and they were dealt a close regulation setback Friday against visiting Detroit. Todd Bertuzzi scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period, as the Red Wings knocked off Florida, 4-3, at BankAtlantic Center.

Dennis Wideman, Stephen Weiss and Radek Dvorak all lit the lamp for the Panthers, who rounded out an unfavorable five-game homestand with a 1-3-1 record. Tomas Vokoun yielded four goals on 30 shots.

"They're a good team and they capitalized on us early," Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer said. "I credit our guys for coming back. We kept battling the full 60 minutes."

Florida is now set to begin a four-game road trip and DeBoer's club is just 12-15-1 as the guest this season.

The Lightning have lost two of three to Florida this season, but Tampa picked up a shootout victory in Sunrise when the clubs met last on Jan. 21. The Bolts have taken three of five in the series overall, but the Panthers have won two of their last three in Tampa.