By Ken Peacock
Bolts fans got to take a good look at the recently renovated St. Pete Times Forum and the New Look Lightning. While the arena still has a little bit of work to go, the Lightning looked sharp with their new uniforms and played sharp on the ice. This was the opening game in a home and home series against the Panthers. And it was an important game for those fighting for a coveted slot on the roster.
Tampa Bay took a commanding lead in the game getting a goal from Matias Ritola in the first, two goals from Ryan Shannon in the second, and Carter Ashton got one in the third. Florida finally answered back with goals from Skille and Repik. The slim chance for the Panthers to make a comeback was erased when Vinny Lecavalier wrapped up the scoring with a goal at 18:46 of the third. This was the first home game of the pre-season and the Bolts left the 13,410 fans happy and satisfied.
Tonight the team visits the Panthers to complete the weekend. Florida will be playing what could be their opening night roster. The Lightning are going to give goalie, Mathieu Garon, a shot at the entire game. Those players that are in contention for a spot such as Brett Connolly, Mattias Ritola, Cory Conacher, Dana Tyrell and Carter Ashton are going to get another chance to showcase their skills tonight. With major roster cut’s looming tomorrow this may be their final shot at the roster this pre-season.