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Florida Panthers Vs. New York Rangers: Game 30 Preview

Florida concludes a marathon stretch tonight where they played eight games in eight different cities in 16 nights, posting a 4-2-1 record so far. After posting an overtime loss against the Sabres on Friday, can Florida start a new streak tonight?

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The Florida Panthers will be visiting the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday night. It is the second of four meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals, and the first of two in New York. Florida is 10-6-1 on the road, tied for the most road wins in the NHL. The Rangers are 7-2-2 at home. Florida will be playing the final game of a three game road trip. They shut out the Boston Bruins, 2-0 on Thursday night and lost in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1 on Friday night. The Rangers handed the Sabres a 4-1 loss in their game last night. They will be playing in the first game of a two game homestand. They go on to host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

The teams last met on November 23rd in Florida, with the Panthers walking away with a 2-1 victory, their third straight. The Panthers had a 12-6-3 record after the matchup, and the Rangers had a respectable 10-5-3. Jason Garrison scored his eighth goal and Kris Versteeg added his 12th. Tomas Fleischmann assisted on both goals for Florida and Jose Theodore stopped 19 of 20 shots for the victory.


Rangers @ Panthers 11/23/11 (via NHLVideo)

In Florida's last game, the Panthers lost in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1. Jason Garrison scored his ninth goal of the season with assists from Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann while Scott Clemmensen (3-0-1) made 18 of 20 saves in the loss, his first of the season.

Panthers @ Sabres 12/09/11 (via NHLVideo)

The Rangers took down the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Backup goaltender Martin Biron picked up the victory by stopping 32 of 33 shots. New York scored two short-handed goals in the second period and Marian Gaborik scored his 14th goal of the season on the power play. Carl Hagelin scored two goals and Steve Eminger and Michael Del Zotto each tallied two assists in the win.

NY Rangers @ sabres 12/10/11 (via NYRANGERSGAMEZ)


Season Series: 1-0-0


All-Time Series: 30-33-11

Game Time: 7:30 EST


Florida Panthers: 16-8-5, 37 points, first SE Division, third Eastern Conference, ninth NHL, on pace for 105 points

Buffalo Sabres: 16-6-4, 36 points, third Atlantic Division, fifth Eastern Conference, 10th NHL, on pace for 113 points


Forwards Matt Bradley, Scottie Upshall and Marcel Goc are all out. Forward Marc Cullen is listed as questionable for the Panthers.

Probable Starters


After getting a break from Scott Clemmensen on Friday, Jose Theodore (11-5-3) gets his shot between the pipes tonight. Starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist (11-5-4) will get a start for the Rangers tonight.


1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Bergenheim - Matthias - Kopecky

3. Sturm - Santorelli - Skille

4. Barch - Kennedy - Samuelsson


1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Gudbranson

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Common Thread:

Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger played in nine games for Florida in 2008-09. He scored one goal with a plus-one rating with six penalty minutes for the Panthers.

Panthers forward Mikael Samuelsson played in 125 games for the Rangers over two seasons. He scored 14 goals and 24 assists with a plus-10 rating and 55 penalty minutes.

Team Milestones:

Ed Jovanovski will play in his 282nd game as a Panther tonight, moving him past Jody Hull into 20th place. His next goal will be his 32nd, which will move him into a tie for 32nd with Richard Zednik. His next assist will give him 58 with the Panthers, tying him with Paul Laus, in 30th.

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 21, moving him into a tie for 47th with Brett McLean.

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 third all-time with 227 assists, two more move him into a tie for second with Robert Svehla.

Team Leaders:


Kris Versteeg - 13

Tomas Fleischmann - 12

Stephen Weiss -11


Brian Campbell -22

Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann - 18



Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann - 30

Stephen Weiss - 29


Tomas Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss - plus-16

Kris Versteeg  - plus-15

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.