The Florida Panthers (7-14-5) will continue their current five-game homestand by taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7:00 pm at the BB&T Center. The Cats opened the quintet of home games with a 3-1 win over the surging Philadelphia Flyers, but were beaten 5-2 by the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
The Penguins (17-9-1) are finishing up a quick two-game swing through the Sunshine State. The Pens whitewashed the Lightning by a 3-0 count last night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Pittsburgh leads the Metropolitan Division with 35 points and sports the Eastern Conference's second-best record.
In the opening meeting between the teams this season, Florida had their way with goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who was making his first NHL start, and skated to a surprising 6-3 win back on October 11th, here in Sunrise. It was the Penguins first loss of the 2013-14 campaign. Brad Boyes scored twice and added an assist, while Tomas Fleischmann scored a goal and set up three others to power the Cats to victory.
The Panthers will have their hands tonight dealing with the one-two punch of Sidney Crosby, who leads the league with 36 points, and Evgeni Malkin, who is now tied for second in scoring with 31 points, including an NHL-best 25 assists. Chris Kunitz leads the Penguins, who are on a two-game winning streak, with 13 goals.
Scuttlebutt across the twitterverse has Tim Thomas making his 11th consecutive start for the Cats, as well as forward Jesse Winchester returning to the lineup, with Krys Barch the most likely candidate to sit this one out.
Marc-Andre Fleury only had to face 21 shots last night against the Bolts, so he could get the call for the Pens, but it's more likely the Panthers will get a second crack at Zatkoff, who has gone 3-1-0 since that first meeting, tonight.
There is no official LBC GameDay Preview today, so keep it locked in right here until Donny gets happy feet and fires up the GameThread at 6:30. For more on the Penguins, visit our fine-feathered friends over at Pensburgh.