Vancouver Canucks Visit Florida Panthers: Game 42 Preview

After playing the NHL leading New York Rangers last week and dropping a game to the New Jersey Devils on Friday, the Panthers on this week face the Western Conference leading Vancover Canucks and the NHL Champion Boston Bruins.

Florida will be hosting the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the Bank Atlantic Centre in Sunrise. This is the first and only meeting of the season between the frequent trade partners. Florida is 10-4-5 at home, while Vancouver owns a 14-8-1 road record. For Florida, this is the first game of a difficult three game homestand which also features games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. Vancouver will be playing their second game of a four game roadtrip. They beat the defending NHL Champion Boston Bruins, 4-3 on Saturday in a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup Finals. After tonight's matchup they play the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow before visiting the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

October 10, 2010 was the last time these two teams met. Vancouver won the game, 2-1 on the power of two goals by Daniel Sedin. Both goals were assisted by Daniel's twin brother, Henrik and current Panther Mikael Samuelsson. Roberto Luongo saved 41 of 42 shots for the victory. Rostislav Olesz scored Florida's only goal, and Tomas Vokoun saved 33 of 35 shots in the losing effort.

Canucks Vs Panthers - Highlights - 10.11.10 - HD (via CanucksHD)

In Florida's last game, the Panthers dropped a 5-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Krys Barch scored his first goal as a Panther and Marcel Goc assisted on Mikael Samuelsson's second of the season, returning a favor paid by Goc in Florida's last game, a loss at the hands of the New York Rangers. Jacob Markstrom saved 24 of 27 shots in his first game since being recalled from San Antonio last week.

Panthers @ Devils 01/06/12 (via NHLVideo)

The Canucks beat the Boston Bruins in a Stanley Cup Finals rematch (preview?) on Saturday, 4-3. 107 total penalty minutes were handed out during the game. Alexandre Burrows, Cody Hodgson, Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin scored for Vancouver. Goaltender Cory Schneider saved 36 of 39 shots for the win.

Canucks Boston (via CHEK365)

Season Series: 0-0-0

All-Time Series: 5-9-8

Game Time: 7:30 EST

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Standings:

Florida Panthers: 20-13-8, 48 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 10th NHL, on pace for 96 points.

Vancouver Canucks: 26-13-3, 55 points, first Northwest Division, first Western Conference, second NHL, on pace for 107 points.

Injuries:

Sean Bergenheim, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall and Marco Sturm are all still sidelined with various ailments.

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 been recalled from San Antonio to fill in while Theodore recovers. Scott Clemmensen (4-1-3) is also available. Kevin Dineen probably won't let the media know who's in goal until later.

Forwards: Bill Thomas was sent back to the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday.

1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Kopecky - Matthias - Samuelsson

3. Santorell - Goc - Bradley

4. Repik - Madden - Barch

Defense:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Gudbranson

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Common Thread:

Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver played 55 games for the Canucks in 2007-08, scoring one assist with a plus-one and 33 penalty minutes.

Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski played a total of 434 games over seven seasons for the Canucks. He scored 57 goals and 177 assists with a minus-three and 536 penalty minutes.

Panthers forward Mikael Samuelsson played 155 games over three seasons for the Canucks, scoring 49 goals and 52 assists with a plus-17 and 106 penalty minutes.

Panthers forward Marco Sturm played six games for Vancouver earlier this season, collecting a minus-five rating and two penalty minutes.

Canucks forward David Booth played 309 games for the Panthers over his first six NHL seasons, scoring 87 goals and 80 assists with a minus-17 and 127 penalty minutes.

Canucks forward Chris Higgins played in 48 games last season for the Panthers, scoring 11 goals and 12 assists with a plus-five rating and 10 penalty minutes.

Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard played 164 games for the Panthers over two seasons, scoring 14 goals and 48 assists with a plus-seven and 160 penalty minutes.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is the Panthers all-time leader for wins and starts in goal. He collected a 108-154-41 record over 317 games in five seasons for Florida. He had a .920 save percentage and a 2.68 GAA.

Team Milestones:

Games: Dmitry Kulikov plays in his 181th game tonight, moving past Jesse Belanger into 44th. Shawn Matthias plays in his 167th game, moving him into a tie with Brad Ference in 47th.

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 63, moving him past Dave Gagner into 47th place.

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Team Leaders:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 17

Tomas Fleischmann - 15

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 11

Assists:

Brian Campbell - 30

Stephen Weiss - 22

Kris Versteeg - 21

Tomas Fleischmann - 19

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 38

Tomas Fleischmann - 34

Stephen Weiss, Brian Campbell - 33

Plus/Minus:

Stephen Weiss - plus-14

Kris Versteeg - plus-12

Tomas Fleischmann, Jason Garrison - plus-six

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