Florida Panthers Visit Chicago Blackhawks: Game 46 Preview

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 3: Shawn Matthias #18 of the Florida Panthers attempts to skate over the top of Brent Seabrook #7 of the Chicago Blackhawks to get to the puck on November 3, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shoot out. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Panthers started out the season with a 10-6-0 road record. Since then, they have gone 0-3-4. they try tonight to reclaim the title, "Road Warriors," tonight against the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Florida will be visiting the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the United Center in Chicago. This is the second meeting this season between the two teams. Florida is 10-9-4 on the road, while Chicago owns a 18-5-4 home record. For Florida, this is the second game of a difficult three game roadtrip. They dropped a matchup on Wednesday night to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime, 4-3, and go on to play the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday before returning home to face the Philadelphia Flyers just before the All-Star break. Chicago is finishing off a three game homestand. They posted victories against the San Jose Sharks, 4-3 on Sunday and took care of the Buffalo Sabres, 6-2 on Wednesday. They go on the road to play the Nashville Predators tomorrow night.

The teams last met on November 3rd, 2011, with Florida dropping a 3-2 game in a shootout. Stephen Weiss and Ed Jovanovski scored goals for Florida, while Jacob Markstrom stopped 31 of 33 shots in the loss. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa scored for the Blackhawks, and Patrick Kane scored the shootout winner. Corey Crawford stopped 41 of 43 shots in the win.


In Florida's last game, the Panthers dropped an overtime matchup to the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3 on Wednesday. Tomas Kopecky, Marcel Goc and Stephen Weiss scored for the Cats, while Dmitry Kulikov collected two assists and Jose Theodore allowed four goals on 44 shots in the loss. Peter Mueller scored twice and assisted on a third for Colorado, and Jean-Sebastian Giguere made 26 saves on 29 shots for the win.

Panthers @ Avalanche 01/18/12 (via NHLVideo)


The Blackhawks beat the Buffalo Sabres, 6-2 on Wednesday night, powered by two Jonathan Toews goals and one each from Dave Bolland, Jimmy Hayes, Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw. Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 27 shots in the win.

Season Series: 0-0-1

Sabres @ Blackhawks 01/18/12 (via NHLVideo)


All-Time Series: 9-13-4

Game Time: 8:30 EST

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Standings:

Florida Panthers: 21-14-10, 52 points, second Southeast Division, eighth Eastern Conference, 15th NHL, on pace for 95 points.

Colorado Avalanche: 28-13-6, 62 points, third Central Division, fifth Western Conference, fourth NHL, on pace for 108 points.

Injuries:


Florida Panthers Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Sean Bergenheim other-excused 12/19/2011
Ed Jovanovski hand 01/17/2012
Marco Sturm head 12/21/2011
Scottie Upshall other-excused 11/11/2012
Jack Skille shoulder 12/17/2012
Jacob Markstrom knee 01/08/2012


Chicago Blackhawks Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Daniel Carcillo knee 01/03/2012
Patrick Sharp other-excused 01/09/2012


Starting Lineups:

Goalies: Jose Theodore (14-8-5) will get the start for tonight's matchup. Scott Clemmensen (5-2-4) is the backup.

Forwards:

1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Kopecky - Goc - Samuelsson

3. Upshall - Matthias - Skille

4. Bradley - Madden - Barch

Defense:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Kulikov - Gudbranson

3. Ellerby - Weaver

Common Thread:

Blackhawks left winger Michael Frolik played 213 games over three seasons for the Panthers. He scored 50 goals and 67 assists with a plus-four rating and 81 penalty minutes.

Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador played 196 games for the Panthers over three seasons. He scored 10 goals and 28 assists with a plus-six rating and 260 penalty minutes.

Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell played 215 games for the Panthers over three seasons. He scored 19 goals and 98 assists with a plus-37 rating and 46 penalty minutes.

Panthers center Tomas Kopecky played 155 games for the Blackhawks over two seasons, scoring 25 goals and 38 assists with a minus-13 rating and 88 penalty minutes.

Panthers center John Madden played 79 games for the Blackhawks for the 2009-10 season. He totalled 10 goals and 13 assists with a minus-two rating and 12 penalty minutes.

Panthers right winger Jack Skille played 79 games for Chicago over four seasons, scoring 12 goals and 13 assists with a minus-four rating and 30 penalty minutes.

Florida right winger Kris Versteeg played 160 games for the Blackhawks over three seasons, scoring 44 goals and 57 assists with a plus-22 and 96 penalty minutes.

Team Milestones:

Goals: With one more goal, Jason Garrison will move into the Panthers top fifty, with 20. Shawn Matthias' next goal will give him 24, moving him into a tie in 46th with Dave Gagner.

Assists: Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 53 for his career, moving him into a tie with Bryan Allen for 36th.

Points: One more point for Kulikov will give him 66, moving him past Bret Hedican into 45th place.

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 17

Tomas Fleischmann - 15

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 12

Assists:

Brian Campbell - 31

Stephen Weiss - 23

Kris Versteeg - 22

Dmitry Kulikov, Tomas Fleischmann - 19

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 39

Stephen Weiss - 35

Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell - 34

Plus/Minus

Stephen Weiss - plus-11

Kris Versteeg - plus-nine

Jason Garrison - plus-five

Tomas Fleischmann - plus-three

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