Game Day: Panthers-Rangers

The Florida Panthers will look to snap a recent 4-game slide tonight in New York, as they prepare to play their second game of a 6-game road trip against the Rangers.

The Panthers, who currently sit 8 points back of a playoff spot in the East, went 3-0 to start a recent home stand, but finished it off with 3 losses in extra time, before dropping one to the New Jersey Devils 5-2 Sunday night to start the road swing.

The Rangers on the other hand are on a 2-game winning streak, with victories over the Atlanta Thrashers and most recently the Washington Capitals on Monday night, both victories were in a shootout, with huge goals via. Mats Zuccarello.

Both teams, despite heading in different directions have performed well, despite key injuries. The Rangers still managed to get the victory Monday night, without the likes of Brandon Dubinksky, Ryan Callahan, and Dan Girardi out of the lineup. The Panthers are also missing key guys with, Chris Higgins, Dmitri Kulikov and captain Bryan McCabe out of the lineup. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun sat out Sunday night, as rookie Jacob Markstrom made his first NHL appearance in relief of Scott Clemmensen who got the yank. It appears as though Vokoun is a go tonight against the Rangers.

This will be the third meeting of the two teams this season, they split the season series at one game apiece as they each share a 3-0 victory. The Rangers beat the Panthers 3-0 in Sunrise back on November 26th, while Florida returned the favour with a 3-0 victory on January 2nd, also in Sunrise.

Breakdown:

New York Rangers: (29-19-3) (12-10-2 Home)
Florida Panthers: (21-21-5) (10-13-0 Away)

Power Play: NYR (15.8% 23rd NHL) – FLA (11.4% 30th NHL)
Penalty Kill: NYR (83.8% 8th NHL) – FLA (84.2% 6th NHL)

GF / GA: NYR (140GF, 11th NHL / 121GA, 6th NHL) – FLA (124GF, 24th NHL / 123GA, 8th NHL)

Key Injuries:
New York Rangers: Dan Girardi (ribs), Brandon Dubinsky (leg), Ryan Callahan (hand), Derek Boogaard (shoulder/concussion), Vinny Prospal (knee)

Florida Panthers: Chris Higgins (hamstring), Bryan McCabe (facial surgery), Tomas Vokoun (upper body), Dmitry Kulikov (ribs)

*Note: It appears as if Tomas Vokoun is a game time decision for the Panthers.

Adam Reid
adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com