Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) stops a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) during a shootout in an NHL preseason hockey game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Tampa Bay Lightning Face In-State Rival Panthers in 2019-2020 Season Opener

The 2019-2020 NHL season is finally upon us.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning it is a season of redemption after being shockingly swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs last season. For the Florida Panthers, it is a season of new beginnings with new faces. It all begins tonight as the Panthers travel to to Tampa.

Bounce Back Season

The Lightning had an entire off-season to digest the shocking end result of last season.

The only way to move past it is by winning again. Tampa Bay coasted for the most part last season, even though this years team is expected to be as good if not better than last years team, this year’s team will be put under a microscope. It is expected for the Lightning defense to be improved this season. General Manager Julien BriseBois brought in veteran defender Kevin Shattenkirk on a one-year, $1.75 million dollar deal. The veteran should be able to complement goal keeper Andrei Vasilevskiy well.

New Look Panthers

Panthers ownership opened their wallet so now is the time for results.

General manager Dave Tallon was given the green light to spend money and that he did. Florida will be sporting a new goaltender this season after signing Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million dollar deal. Bobvrosky was on the Blue Jackets team that shocked the Lightning this past season. Tampa will be seeing familiar faces when they hit the ice on Thursday night as the Panthers brought in two former Tampa players in Brett Connolly and Anton Stralman. Florida also brought in center Noel Acciari. All of these men will be led by new head coach Joel Quenneville. Quenneville and Tallon will be looking to win the Stanley Cup just like they did with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.

The puck drops at 7:05.

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