7:30 p.m., BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida
The Last Penguins Game:
February 24, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Tampa bay 3 [Recap]
The Penguins take on the Panthers for the second time in three games after they got a hard fought 3-1 win on Friday. This time they have to travel to Florida. Things are amazingly jumbled up in the East with the difference between first and seventh is only two points but the Penguins have been doing a pretty nice job of keeping up the pace as they have the most regulation wins in the conference with 12 (Toronto also has 12 but have played one more game than the Pens) which is going to help big time when tiebreakers come in at the end of the season.
As I said the Pens will be in Florida and that might be a good thing because the Penguins are 8-2-0 on the road this season and only Toronto can even match the Penguins number of wins on the road and that includes the Flyers who have played 12 road games but can only muster a 4-8-0 mark on the road.
On Friday the Penguins did a pretty nice job limiting the Panthers to only 23 shots and held them to only three shots in the first period of that game. On the other side the Penguins were able to throw 40 shots on goal and while the Penguins were behind 1-0 at the halfway point of the game they were able to finally take over in the third period with a pair of goals and put the game away. I would assume they would try to do the same thing as the Panthers are going to be without some of their top players. Stephen Weiss will miss tonight's contest due to a death in the family while Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg will still be out thanks to various injuries.
Jose Theodore is going to be in net for the Panthers for the first time since February 18 and before that he was just getting toasted. Including that start on the 18th Thoeodore has given up 15 goals in his last four starts with all of those starts coming in losses, although two of them did go to extra time. On the season he has a 3.37 GAA and a .893 save percentage in 12 games so he hasn't been lighting the world on fire and with the Panthers sending Jacob Markstrom back down to their AHL affiliate if the Penguins get to Theodore early there might not be much better to go to as Scott Clemmensen has been worse than Theodore this season.
Tomas Vokoun is back in net for the Penguins as Dan Bylsma is going to give the veteran netminder a chance to play against his former team on the road. Vokoun is coming off one of his worst games of the season against the Flyers where he gave up six goals, including a brutal game winner with only a minute and a half to go, but he has been pretty good this season so I am glad he is back out there to try and redeem himself from the last game out.
Pittsburgh (13-6-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang
Deryk Engelland - Simon Despres
Florida (5-9-4) (via Panthers Twitter)
Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller
Shawn Matthias - Scott Timmins - Tomas Kopecky
Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Mike Santorelli
Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros
Brian Campbell - Mike Weaver
Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson
Tyson Strachan - Colby Robak
The Last Time They Met:
February 22, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, Florida 1