Pittsburgh Penguins Visit Florida Panthers: Game 43 Preview

The Florida Panthers continue a difficult three game homestand against the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins at the BAC tonight.

Florida will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the Bank Atlantic Centre in Sunrise. This is the third meeting of the season between Eastern Conference rivals. Florida is 11-4-5 at home, while Pittsburgh owns a 10-10-2 road record. For Florida, this is the second game of a difficult three game homestand. They beat the Vancouver Canucks, 2-1 on Monday night, and go on to host the Boston Bruins on Monday. Pittsburgh will be playing their second game of a three game roadtrip. The lost to the Panthers nemesis, the Washington Capitals, 1-0 on Wednesday and go on to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

The teams last met on November 19th, with Florida skating off with a 3-2 victory. Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss each scored power play goals for the Panthers, as Weiss enjoyed also assisted on the other two goals. All three first line players earned at least two points on the evening. Jose Theodore withstood a 41 shot barrage from the Penguins, making 39 saves on the night for the win. Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal scored for Pittsburgh in a losing effort.

Penguins @ Panthers 11/19/11 (via NHLVideo)


In Florida's last game, the Panthers defeated ex-Panther goaltender Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks, 2-1 on Monday. Marcel Goc scored tallied a goal and an assist, bringing his three-game post-concussion total to four points. Dmitry Kulikov also scored his fourth of the season. Panthers backup goalie, Scott Clemmensen saved 25 of 26 shots in the win. Dale Weise scored Vancouver's goal in the loss.

Canucks @ Panthers 01/09/12 (via NHLVideo)


The Penguins dropped a 1-0 game to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Jason Chimera scored the game winner with five minutes remaining in the first period, with assists from Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward. It was Chimera's 14th goal of the season. Marc-Andre Fleury saved 20 of 21 in the losing effort, while another ex-Panther's netminder, Tomas Vokoun, stopped all 30 of the Penguins shot in the shutout.

Penguins @ Capitals 01/11/12 (via NHLVideo)


Season Series: 1-1-0

All-Time Series: 31-28-12

Game Time: 7:30 EST

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Standings:

Florida Panthers: 21-13-8, 50 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 11th NHL, on pace for 98 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 21-17-4, 46 points, fourth Atlantic Division, ninth Eastern Conference, 19th NHL, on pace for 90 points.

Injuries:



Florida Panthers Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Sean Bergenheim other-excused 12/19/2011
Jose Theodore knee 01/01/2012
Marco Sturm head 12/21/2011
Scottie Upshall other-excused 11/11/2011
Jack Skille shoulder 12/17/2011


Pittsburgh Penguins Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jordan Staal knee 01/07/2012
Kris Letang concussion 12/05/2011
Sidney Crosby concussion 12/06/2011
Simon Despres other-excused 01/11/2012

Starting Lineups:

Goalies: Jose Theodore (14-8-4) is currently injured and is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks. Jacob Markstrom (2-4-1) has also been injured, and is going into surgery. Scott Clemmensen (4-1-3) is the probable starter, with recent callup Brian Foster set to back him up.

Forwards:

1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Kopecky - Matthias - Santorelli

3. Samuelsson - Goc - Bradley

4. Repik - Madden - Barch

Defense:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Gudbranson

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Common Thread:

Panthers forward Matt Bradley played all 82 games of the 2003-04 season with the Penguins, scoring seven goals and nine assists with a minus-27 rating and 65 penalty minutes.

Panthers forward Mikael Samuelsson played 22 games for the Penguins in 2002-03, scoring two goals with a minus-21 rating and eight penalty minutes.

Team Milestones:

Goals: Ed Jovanovski's next goal will be his 32nd, which will move him into a tie for 32nd with Richard Zednik. Mike Santorelli's next goal will be number 26 as a Panther, moving him past Mike Van Ryn into 44th place all-time.

Assists: Stephen Weiss is tied with Olli Jokinen with 231 all-time assists for the Florida Panther's record. Ed Jovanovski's next assist will give him 61 with the Panthers, passing Dave Lowry into 28th. Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 51 for his career, moving him past Niklas Hagman into 38th place.

Points: One more point for Kulikov will give him 64, moving him into a tie with Joe Nieuwendyk in 46th place.

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 17

Tomas Fleischmann - 15

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 11

Assists:

Brian Campbell - 30

Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg - 22

Tomas Fleischmann - 19

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 39

Tomas Fleischmann - 34

Stephen Weiss, Brian Campbell - 33

Plus/Minus

Stephen Weiss - plus-13

Kris Versteeg - plus-11

Jason Garrison - plus-six

Tomas Fleischmann - plus-five

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