LBC GameDay Preview: Minnesota Wild at Florida Panthers

Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Florida looks to avoid their fourth loss in a row tonight against Pominville, Suter, Parise and the other Wild (Wilds? Wildites?). Is it too late to right the ship?

Tonight, the Panthers welcome the Wild of Minnesota to the BB&T Center for the first of two meetings this season. They'll play again in the Twin Cities on November 15th. Florida is playing the second game of a six-game homestand. They lost in their most recent game, the homestand-opener against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins. The Bruins scored twice in the first period to take what seemed at the time to be an insurmountable lead. Kris Versteeg scored his second goal of the season in the second period and Jesse Winchester scored his first goal in over two years to tie the game with six minutes left in regulation. Boston forward Reilly Smith beat Tim Thomas with less than a minute left to ice the game, 3-2. After tonight's matchup, they'll face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, the Tampa Bay Lightning on the 27th, and the St. Louis Blues on November 1st.

Minnesota is finishing up a four-game road trip. The defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1 on Monday before losing 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday and 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. They'll return home to play the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes next week.

A Look Back

The last time Minnesota faced Florida was on March 29th, 2012. The visiting playoff hopeful 37-24-15 Panthers played the 31-35-10 Wild to a 2-2 draw after 60 minutes, on goals by Tomas Fleischmann and Scottie Upshall. Mikku Koivu ended it just 15 seconds into the extra frame, wristing it past Jose Theodore, who had saved 22-of-24 shots.

Erik Christensen tied the game for Minnesota with 30.3 seconds left in regulation and Mikko Koivu won it 15 seconds into overtime as the Wild defeated the Panthers 3-2 at Xcel Energy Center. Combined with Washington's 3-2 shootout win at Boston earlier in the evening, Florida saw its division lead over the Caps reduced to four points.

It was the Panthers' League-high 16th loss in games that have gone past regulation.

"It's a tough one. You're 30 seconds away, the puck hits a skate, hits a post and then he banged it in," Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore said. "We still got a big point, but when you're 30 seconds away, you want to get the win." * Full Recap * Box Score


GameTime: 7:00 PM ET, FS-FLA, WQAM, LBC GameThread at 6:30

All-Time Record: The Wild and the Panthers have squared off 13 times previously. Florida owns a 3-7-1-2 record in those matches for a 34.6% success rate. It's the least success they have had against any other franchise except for the St. Louis Blues (also 34.6%).

Season Series: First of two meetings


Florida Panthers: 2-6-0, .250, 4 points, on pace for 41 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 15th in the NHL. Last five: L-W-L-L-L.

Minnesota Wild: 3-3-2, .500, 8 points, on pace for 82 points. Fourth in the Central Division, tied for ninth in the Western Conference, tied for 23rd in the NHL. Last five: W-W-W-L-L.

Common Thread

New Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert spent the last season and a half with the Wild, scoring three goals and 15 assists in 63 games, with a minus-16 rating and 26 penalty minutes.

Panthers Milestones


D Mike Weaver plays in his 200th game tonight, moving him past Bryan McCabe and Jozef Stumpel into 41st on the all-time list.


Marcel Goc will move into the all-time top 50 with his next goal, number 24, tying Dave Gagner. Tomas Kopecky will pass Mike Van Ryn into 48th with his 26th goal. Kris Versteeg tied Mike Hough and Gary Roberts in 45th with a goal last game, his 27th. Tomas Fleischmann currently has 40 goals, and will pass Juraj Kolnik into 28th with his next.


Matthias has 44 assists, tied with Jody Hull, Chris Gratton, and Ivan Novoseltsev in 46th. Fleischmann currently sits at 63 with the Panthers, placing him in 31st, one behind Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov's next assist will be his 65th, moving him into a tie at 29th with captain Ed Jovanovski. Brian Campbell currently has 72 assists, is tied for 21st place with Stu Barnes, and will move into the top 20 all-time with two more, tying Johan Garpenlov.

Florida GM Dale Tallon turns 63 today.

Probable Starting Lineups

Florida Panthers


Minnesota Wild


Panthers Leaders


Brad Boyes - 4, Marcel Goc, Jonathan Huberdeau -3


Tomas Fleischmann - 6, Brian Campbell - 4, Aleksander Barkov, Scott Gomez - 3


Tomas Fleischmann - 7, Brad Boyes - 6, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau - 5

Faceoff Percentage

Marcel Goc - 50.0%, Jesse Winchester - 50.0%, Aleksander Barkov - 46.4%

Shots on Goal

Tomas Fleischmann - 24, Kris Versteeg - 21, Brad Boyes - 20

Penalty Minutes

Erik Gudbranson - 30, Dmitry Kulikov - 23, Jesse Winchester - 14


Mike Weaver - 23, Erik Gudbranson - 17, Tomas Fleischmann, Dmitry Kulikov - 11

Blocked Shots

Mike Weaver - 21, Erik Gudbranson - 17, Tom Gilbert - 13

If you're interested in more on tonight's matchup, check out Hockey Wilderness. Make sure to join us for bread and circuses at 6:30 tonight in the Game Thread.

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