Florida Panthers Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Game 37 Preview

TORONTO, CANADA - NOVEMBER 8: Mike Komisarek #8 of the Toronto Maple Leafs tries to stop Marcel Goc # 57 of the Florida Panthers during NHL action at The Air Canada Centre November 8, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Can the Panthers resume their winning ways now that they've have had a few days off for the holidays? Or will Toronto exact revenge for a 5-1 drubbing at the Panthers hands earlier this season.

Florida will be hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bank Atlantic Centre tonight in Sunrise. This is the second of four meetings between the Eastern Conference (and future "Conference 3") rivals. This will be the first time of two they will meet in Florida. Florida is 8-3-5 at home this season, while the Maple Leafs are10-8-0 on the road. Florida will be opening a three game homestand, and go on to host the New York Rangers on Friday night and the Montreal Canadians on New Years Eve. The Leafs are playing in the first game of a three game roadtrip. They go on to visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night and the Winnepeg Jets on New Years Eve.

The last time the two teams met was November 8th in Toronto. The Panthers beat the Maple Leafs, 5-1 as Jack Skille and Marco Sturm each scored their first goals of the season for Florida and Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky and Shawn Matthias added markers in the win. Jose Theodore saved 38 of 39 shots in the victory. The night finished with the Panthers at 7-4-3 and the Leafs at 9-5-1.

Panthers @ Maple Leafs 11/08/11 (via NHLVideo)


In Florida's last game, the Boston Bruins destroyed the Panthers, 8-0 on Friday night. 14 different Boston players would end up on the scoresheet for the Bruins, including Brad Marchand's first career hat trick. Each of Florida's goaltenders allowed four goals in the loss.

Panthers @ Bruins 12/23/11 (via NHLVideo)



The Maple Leafs are coming off a 5-3 victory in New York against the Islanders. Clarke MacArthur, Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, Joey Crabb and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs and James Reimer saved 30 of 33 shots in the victory.

Maple Leafs @ Islanders 12/23/11 (via NHLVideo)

Season Series: 1-0-0
All-Time Series: 21-24-12
Game Time: 7:30 EST


Standings:

Florida Panthers: 18-11-7, 43 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 10th NHL, on pace for 98 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs, 18-13-4, 40 points, second Northeast Division, sixth Eastern Conference, 13th NHL, on pace for 94 points.

Injuries:


Florida Panthers Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Weiss other-excused 12/24/2011
Marco Sturm head 12/24/2011
Mikael Samuelsson other-excused 12/24/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Sean Bergenheim other-excused 12/19/2011
Marcel Goc concussion 11/17/2011
Scottie Upshall other-excused 11/11/2011
Jack Skille shoulder 12/17/2011



Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
John-Michael Liles neck 12/24/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Brown back 11/16/2011
Matthew Lombardi shoulder 11/18/2011
Colby Armstrong foot 12/18/2011
Philippe Dupuis other-excused 12/20/2011
Mike Komisarek arm 11/18/2011


Goaltenders:

Kevin Dineen always plays it close to the vest, and tonight's game should prove no exception. Jose Theodore (13-8-4) and Scott Clemmensen (3-0-2) are his options. Jonas Gustavsson (9-6-0) and James Reimer (7-3-3) are the available goaltenders for the Leafs.

Forwards: Due to injury, over half of Florida's forwards are unable to perform in tonight's matchup. The Panthers have the equivalent of two full AHL lines, as well as defenseman Erik Gudbranson on the fourth line as a checking forward in the starting lineup.

1. Fleischmann - Matthias - Bradley

2. Kopecky - Santorelli - Versteeg

3. Repik - Kennedy - Barch

4. Gudbranson- Thomas - Dadonov

Defense:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Ellerby

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Common Thread:


Panthers forward Kris Versteeg played in 53 games last season for the Maple Leafs, scoring 14 goals and 21 assists with a minus-13 rating and 29 penalty minutes.

Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen appeared in three games for the Maple Leafs in 2007-08, posting a 1-1-0 record, a .839 save percentage and a 3.90 GAA.

Team Milestones:

Ed Jovanovski's next goal will be his 32nd, which will move him into a tie for 32nd with Richard Zednik. His next assist will give him 60 with the Panthers, tying him with Dave Lowry, in 28th.

Mike Santorelli's next goal will be number 25 as a Panther, moving him into a tie with Mike Van Ryn in 44th place all-time.

Shawn Matthias' next goal will give him 22, moving him past Brett McLean into 47th.

Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 51 for his career, moving him past Niklas Hagman into 38th place. One more point for Kulikov will give him 63, moving him past Dave Gagner into 47th place.

Stephen Weiss is second all-time with 230 assists, one less than Olli Jokinen.


Team Leaders:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 16

Tomas Fleischmann - 12

Stephen Weiss -11

Jason Garrison - 10

Assists:

Brian Campbell -24

Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss - 21

Tomas Fleischmann - 19

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 37

Stephen Weiss -32

Tomas Fleischmann - 31

Brian Campbell - 27

Plus/Minus:

Stephen Weiss - plus-18

Kris Versteeg - plus-16

Tomas Fleischmann - plus-11

Jason Garrison - plus-8

For more on this matchup and all of your Florida Panthers needs, check out SB Nation's dedicated Panthers blog, at www.litterboxcats.com.

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