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Welcome to the Sunshine Skate: Panthers season gets real with Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) celebrates his goal with teammate Carter Verhaeghe in front of Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and defenseman Aaron Ekblad during the 2019-20 season-opener at Amalie Arena on Oct. 3. 2019. // Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire

The Florida Panthers know exactly what they’re up against when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town Thursday night.

Not only are the Lightning the defending Stanley Cup champions, but it has won its past six games with wins in nine of 11 to kick off the season.

Tampa Bay is outscoring its opponents by a league-high 22 goals, has an All-World goalie who has surrendered just 18 goals in 10 games.

Oh, and the Lightning has won 10 of 12 against the Panthers not including that 5-0 exhibition blowout last summer in Toronto.

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