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Game Day: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7pm

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Another day of practice for Carolina. Here we see a demonstration of how to react when grazed by a stick, aka "The Laviolette".

Cats at Canes, 7pm, FSN-FL/HD, FSN-CAR

Panthers: 14-13-3 31P, 3rd in SE Hurricanes: 14-12-5 33P, 2nd in SE

All-time: 39-27-11, CAR/HFD

Game 3 of 6, season series tied 1-1

Our dear compadres from the Triangle welcome the Panthers to town, in what is always a classic and entertaining matchup, if you don't count the final score. Blown leads and questionable calls abound, and please take notice I have not yet utilized the word "dive" in any fashion. We're all about objectivity here at The Box.

Long-time Pete DeBoer buddy Paul Maurice returns to Florida for the first time since being re-hired by the Hartfo Carolina organization, in his second stint as head coach. Confused? Not like I was when he got picked up again.

The Panthers are coming off a 5-3 loss in Vancouver on Sunday, ending a club-record 5-game road winning streak. The Hurricanes won 3-2 Tuesday in Raleigh, beating the Canadiens.

One look at the two clubs' current placement tells the tale: 2 point difference: A Florida win ties the two with one game in hand for the Cats, while a regulation loss essentially erases that advantage, leaving a four-point hole to climb out of. Neither team is in danger of being overtaken by Tampa Bay or Atlanta this week. Or month. Florida is the only club in the Southeast with five wins in the division.

In the Nets

Tomas Vokoun will be in net for the Cats, while Cam Ward is expected to go for the Hurricanes, though could be supplanted by Michael Leighton. My money's on Ward.


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Tomas Vokoun 18 954 6 10 0 3 47 2.96 536 489 .912 1


T-Vo is 7-6-1-2 all-time in 17 games (all starts) against Carolina with no SO. He won his last game against them.


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Cam Ward 20 1178 9 7 3 3 51 2.60 582 531 .912 1


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Michael Leighton 12 710 5 5 2 1 36 3.04 354 318 .898 0

Ward is 6-2-0-0 lifetime against Florida with no SO; winning his last start opposite the Cats. Leighton is 0-1-1-0 lifetime, losing his prior start in regulation.


LITTER BOX LINERS

THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE

BATTERED AND BRUISED


Florida Panthers Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Weiss neck/upper back 12.17.2008
Keith Ballard personal 12.17.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Rostislav Olesz strained groin 12.6.2008
Bryan Allen left knee surgery 10.12.2008
Cory Murphy shoulder 10.29.2008

Weiss is 50/50 for a return tonight, though Ballard will reportedly be in the lineup. Not that it makes a difference (cue sarcasm-o-meter) but Nathan Horton, David Booth, and Richard Zednik are all expected to make their post-partum debuts tonight. Cory Stillman returned Sunday.


Carolina Hurricanes Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Frantisek Kaberle lower body 12.17.2008

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Niclas Wallin left leg 12.17.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Anton Babchuk elbow 12.8.2008

Kaberle was taken off the IR yesterday, and presumably will be playing, since Tim Conboy was reassigned.

DIVISIONALLY SPEAKING

Of interest to the Cats (and the Hurricanes, BTW):

  • St. Louis @ Washington: the Blues are 14 points in arears of the fiery Caps. And out of the conference. Nuff said.
  • Colorado @ Tampa Bay: Team Saw goes for it's eighth win.


THE WARMUP

You guessed it: