Back in November, it looked like the Florida Panthers (34-25-7) would be joining Ottawa (23-33-11) near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. However, since December, the Panthers have been on a roll, and now find themselves just two points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets (77 points) of the final wild card spot.
Florida’s a sparking 8-1-1 in their last 10 — including a franchise record eight straight wins at home that they’ll be hoping to extend tonight. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s 2-6-2 — fresh off a 2-1 loss to the Flames.
Craig Anderson will be starting in his home state tonight and Mark Stone will miss tonight’s game with a leg injury — that’s for sure. We are, however, a bit uncertain on who’s doing to be playing on defence. There were some indications at practice today that Erik Burgdoefer may be in over Fredrik Claesson or Ben Harpur (who looked shaken up at practice yesterday). Keeping that in mind... here’s our projected Sens lineup:
Ryan - Pageau - Gaborik
Paajarvi - Smith - Pyatt
McCormick - O’Brien - Burrows
Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot
Burgdoefer (healthy scratch)
Meanwhile, the Panthers are getting Denis Malgin back from injury and are expected to go with:
Huberdeau - Trocheck - Malgin
McGinn - McCann - Vatrano
Haley - MacKenzie - Sceviour
Ekblad - Yandle
Matheson - Pysyk
Weegar - Petrovic
Mamin (healthy scratch)
- Stone finished Friday’s game against Calgary, but the weekend wasn’t enough rest for him to suit up today. Guy Boucher was pretty vague about the timeline of this injury, other than noting that he won’t play either game in Florida. Stone previously missed nine games with a lower-body injury.
- Ottawa’s last game against Florida was right before the holiday break, and was a 1-0 shutout loss. It dampened the mood heading into the break, and things haven’t been much better since.
- From Guy Boucher: “You look at video, they’re firing from all cylinders. They’ve got lots of intensity, lots of drive. They have two 60 pointers on their second line. Not a lot of teams have that.”
- Keith Yandle has quietly eclipsed his point totals from last season (41 in 82), with 46 points in 66 games currently. He’s been a beneficiary of having Huberdeau and Barkov healthy on the powerplay.
- Six players (Barkov, Dadonov, Yandle, Bjugstad, Trocheck, and Huberdeau) all have 8+ points in their last 10 games.
- The Panthers have a hard time getting to the net at even-strength and on the powerplay, but still generate a decent number of scoring chances. They’ve been helped by their Russian additions, Evgeny Dadonov and Denis Malgin.
- Trade deadline acquisition, Frank Vatrano, has slid into top-six minutes for the Cats despite lining up on the third line. A volume shooter, Vatrano adds some needed depth to the Panthers right-side. Moreover, when I look at their lineup, they really seem to beat Ottawa with their depth on forward (especially third-line and depth defencemen)/
|Penalty Kill %||76.2||27th||83.3||4th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||46.32||29th||53.97||2nd|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||46.94||27th||54.01||1st|
|Goals||Matt Duchene||27||Brad Marchand||34|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson (out)||53||Brad Marchand||51|
|Points||Karlsson/Stone (both out)||62||Brad Marchand||85|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||253||David Pastrnak||236|
|TOI/GP||Erik Karlsson (out)||26:44||Zdeno Chara||22:53|
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