Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs - Game 14 Preview

Florida: 6-4-3 (15PTS)
Toronto: 9-4-1 (19PTS)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, Sportsnet-Ontario
Radio: 560 WQAM

The Panthers visit the Maple Leafs for the first of four games between the two clubs this season. The Panthers were off to a hot start but have lost three games straight in shootouts. The Leafs are off to hot start and are currently second in the league, but lost their last game 7-0 to the visiting Boston Bruins. For the first time in a very long time, the two teams will both be in a playoff spot going into the game. Special teams could make the difference tonight. The Panthers' penalty kill (25th/75%) isn't very good this year, but neither is the Leafs' power play (20th/15.3%). On the other hand, the Panthers' power play is good so far (5th/23.5%) and the Leafs have the worst kill in the league (30th/70.9%). The one caveat is that most of the Panthers' power play goals this season have come in three games against the Lightning.

The last few seasons of Leafs-Panthers games have featured former Leaf Bryan McCabe playing well against his former club. Bryan McCabe is now also an ex-Panther, but new Cat Kris Versteeg played half of last season in Toronto before being traded to the Flyers. The Panthers desperately need a win to stay ahead of Ottawa, Carolina and New Jersey in the standings. The Devils and Hurricanes play each other tonight, but the Cats hold the tie-breaker on both. The Leafs have a 3 point cushion on the Buffalo Sabres, who host the Jets tonight.

More from our Toronto cohorts at Pension Plan Puppets.
Panthers vs Maple Leafs coverage at SB Nation.
TSN Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

The Panthers beat the Leafs in Sunrise 4-0 on March 17. The win was one of only four post-trade deadline wins for the Cats. Scott Clemmensen had the shutout and Sergei Samsonov the game winner.

Last game

The Lightning spoiled the last game of the Panthers' home stand when the Cats blew a 3-0 lead to lose in the shootout. Dwayne Roloson got the win in relief of starting goaltender Mathieu Garon and former Panther Dominic Moore had the lone goal in the shootout. Brian Campbell got his first goal as a Panther on the power play less than two minutes into the game.

Lineup

Goaltender Scott Clemmensen has returned to the lineup and Jacob Markstrom has been returned to the San Antonio Rampage. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby has played the last two games over rookie Erik Gudbranson.

Injuries

Healthy Scratches

  • D Keaton Ellerby OR
  • D Erik Gudbranson

Starting goaltenders:

Scott Clemmensen picked up his last win and last shutout against the Leafs on March 17. Clemmensen is 2-1-2 against the Leafs all-time while Jose Theodore is 7-11-3-3.

Lines

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