The Tampa Bay Lightning kicks off the 2019-20 season tonight at the Amalie Arena as they take on the Florida Panthers.
The moment everyone here in the Bolts Nation has waited for is finally upon us! The Tampa Bay Lightning will charge back into the Amalie Arena in the heart of downtown Tampa to take on their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, in the first official home game of the 2019-20 season.
Despite the Lightning’s less-than-stellar postseason performance most Lightning fans would just assume forget, the Bolts had a stellar regular season in 2018-19. The Lightning captured the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history and broke numerous records throughout the season. This is definitely a solid jumping-off point that opens the door for many good things in the future.
The Lightning didn’t have quite the start Bolts fans would’ve hoped for in the preseason. The Bolts went two for seven in the preseason, capturing wins against the Nashville Predators and the Florida Panthers. Regrettably, the Florida Panthers would capture the preseason series 2-1 over the Bolts. On the bright side, this was preseason, and that particular door officially closes tonight.
The Tampa Bay Lightning is going to see some familiar faces when they take the ice tonight. Unfortunately, these players will be wearing the wrong color. Defenseman Anton Stralman will be making his regular-season debut with the Panthers tonight against his former team. Stralman signed a three-year contract with the Panthers on July 1, 2019.
Another familiar face wearing red and white tonight is forward Brett Connolly. Connolly spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2011-2015. In his final year with the Bolts, Connolly put on a then-career best performance with 12 goals and three assists for a total of 15 points in 50 games.
Since leaving the Bolts, Connolly got a taste of the promised land, capturing his first Stanley Cup Championship with the Washington Capitals in 2018. Much like Stralman, Connolly made his way back to the Sunshine State. Brett Connolly signed a four-year deal with the Panthers on July 1, 2019.
Back on the blue side of the ice, the Lightning will be dealing with a few issues as they kick things off tonight. Newly re-signed forward Brayden Point will miss tonight’s game as he continues to recover from hip surgery he had done in the off-season. Also out tonight is Lightning forward Cedric Paquette, who suffered a lower-body injury after taking a huge hit from Panthers rookie defenseman Riley Stillman on September 28.
While numbers definitely don’t matter as much at the beginning of the season, it is important to start the season off on the right foot, and a victory over the Florida Panthers tonight would do just that. The Panthers team the Lightning faces tonight is not the same team they’ve dealt with in the past.
Quenneville spent ten years with the Chicago Blackhawks. Quenneville would coach the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup Championships during his time behind the bench.
While everyone in the Bolts Nation anxiously awaits puck drop, let’s take a closer look at all the information you’ll need to make sure you stay on top of all the action as the Tampa Bay Lightning kicks off their 2019-20 season against the Florida Panthers.
Game: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers
Venue: Amalie Arena
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV Info: Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports Florida
Radio Info: Lightning Radio on 970WFLA or TBL Power Play on iHeartRadio
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go App in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store
The electricity is definitely flowing here in the Bolts Nation in anticipation of tonight’s showdown between the Bolts and the Cats. In just a few hours, the 2019-20 season will be officially underway for the Tampa Bay Lightning and the best part of the year will officially begin.
The Lightning certainly has a lot to live up to after their record-breaking performance last season. Here’s hoping the Bolts get off on the right skate tonight and bring home a victory against the Panthers.