New York Rangers at Florida Panthers - Game 21 Preview

NEW YORK - MARCH 22: Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers and Keaton Ellerby #4 of the Florida Panthers fall to the ice pursuing the puck on March 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Rangers defeated the Panthers 1-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Florida: 11-6-3 (25PTS)
New York Rangers: 10-4-3 (23PTS)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, MSG
Radio: 560 WQAM

Tonight is game three of the Panthers' four game Thanksgiving week home stand. The game will be the first of four against the New York Rangers. Despite being without defenseman Marc Staal and some early drama regarding a brief AHL assignment for Sean Avery, the Blueshirts are off to a good start. They're sitting at seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but have two to four games in hand on every team ahead of them. They're 7-2-1 in their last ten and 5-3-2 on the road this season. Both teams are down a number of players, but are expected to begin to return to full strength soon if not today. The Rangers have three player on IR, but all are traveling with the team on their road trip. Although it was disclosed today that Marcel Gox has a "head injury" and needs further evaluation, the Panthers are expected to have Matt Bradley, Scott Clemmensen and possibly Mikael Sameulsson back by next week. Tonight the Panthers have the opportunity to go on their first 3 game win streak of the season as well as improve their mediocre home record. Wins in the first two games, including a dramatic comeback against the Devils on Monday should give them the confidence to come out flying and play their game for 60 minutes. If they don't, the Rangers will make them pay for their mistakes.

More from our New York Rangers cohorts at Blueshirt Banter.
Rangers vs Panthers coverage at SB Nation.
TSN Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

The Rangers edged the Panthers 1-0 in New York in late March. Henrik Lundqvist had the shutout and Brandon Dubinsky the lone goal.

Last game

The Panthers hosted Pete DeBoer's New Jersey Devils on Monday. Following a shaky period where the Devils went up 3-0, the Panthers resolved to get it back and came back for only the second franchise win following a 3 goal deficit. Kris Versteeg got two goals in the second period, Stephen Weiss got a the tying goal on a shorthanded breakaway and Tomas Fleischmann got the game winner with just over two minutes left in the third period. Patrik Elias was upset after the game calling the Panthers "beatable" and complaining that they only have "one line." Here's Weiss blowing by Elias to score the game tying goal while Elias' team is on the power play.


 

Lineup

Injuries

  • F Mikael Samuelsson (rehab from abdominal surgery), 10/24, week to week
  • F Scottie Upshall (hip), 11/10, 6 to 8 weeks
  • F Matt Bradley (undisclosed), 11/16, 1 week
  • F Marcel Goc (head injury, possible concussion), 11/16, unknown
  • G Scott Clemmensen (undisclosed soreness), 11/19, unknown

Healthy Scratches

  • D Keaton Ellerby

Starting goaltenders:

Dineen would not name his starting goalie, though he hinted that he might start Jacob Markstrom against his countryman, Henrik Lundqvist. Markstrom has not played the Rangers. Jose Theodore is 14-9-2-1 against the Rangers with a 2.48 GAA and and .917 save percentage. Henrik Lundqvist is 12-6-1 against the Panthers with a 1.80 GAA and .940 save percentage. 

Lines (from last game)

Forwards
  1. Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg
  2. Bergenheim-Kopecky-Dadonov
  3. Sturm-Santorelli-Skille
  4. Kennedy-Matthias-Repik
Defense
  1. Campbell-Garrison
  2. Jovanovski-Gudbranson/Ellerby
  3. Kulikov-Weaver

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