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Lightning, Panthers set to kick off NHL season on Friday

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It all begins for real tonight at Amalie Arena. The Tampa Bay Lightning open the 2017-18 season against the Florida Panthers, the first of four meetings between the two teams. For the Lightning, they seek a return to the playoffs after missing the post season by a single point last year. If they can avoid significant injuries to key players, always a big “if,” they have every reason to expect to be playing hockey well into the spring.

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Lightning well represented in World Cup of Hockey

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For some reason, it’s difficult to get excited about the World Baseball Classic. It occurs every two years during spring training when major league players are far from performing at their peak. The World Cup of Hockey, which begins Saturday, also takes place during training camp. It is there the similarities end. The very nature of athletic competition in a contact sport like hockey versus a non-contact sport like baseball almost guarantees a better product. This will not look like…

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Confident Lightning feel Penguins haven’t see their best

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are back home after splitting the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, feeling good about themselves, though hardly satisfied. “We’ve got to play better to win this series, there’s no doubt,” coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday, adding the team has yet to “put our best foot forward” against the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I think now that we’ve played them two times, we know a little bit more what to expect,” Cooper added. “But I know…

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Lightning/Islanders series features top two picks of 2009 draft

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In the 2008-2009 National Hockey League season the two worst teams in the league were the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning. New York had only 61 points while Tampa Bay was not much better with 66. Futility becomes a positive when draft day comes along. The worst team picks first and the Stanley Cup champion picks last. If the Islanders and Lightning were going to move up in the standings, they could not make a mistake with…

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