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Game Day: Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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Behold the Leafs new third-jerseys for next year. Veteran goaltender Curtis Joseph has not yet been fitted.

Cats at Leafs, 7:30 pm, FSN-FL (no HD)

Panthers: 17-16-6 40P, 3rd in SE Maple Leafs: 16-17-6 38P, 4th in NE

All-time: 25-12-7 (TOR)

Game 1 of 4 (last game in TO: 8-0 Cats (2/5/08)

The Cats arrive with a chorus of trumpets and singing children, heralding the long-awaited return of former Leaf Bryan McCabe. The game itself, however, is evidently a non-story.

McCabe's situation has been covered ad nauseum, so we'll not rehash it here. The player he was traded for, Mike Van Ryn - a true fan-favorite and consummate team-guy if ever there was one - is out due to injury. Shawn Matthias has been kicked back to the Amerks, opening up a spot for Nick Tarnasky, who will play tonight. David booth has 8 points in his last five games. Former Cat Nick Hagman has 0 points in the past three. Did you know: the Panthers have 12 players on the roster who were first round selections in the entry draft.

Toronto currently holds a goal differential of -19 (119GF to 138GA) after 39 GP, with 38 points on the year. Florida enters the evening with a differential of minus-7 (104GF to 111GA) after 39 games with 40 points.

The Leafs are 5-5-0 in their past ten, gaining 10 of a possible 20 points. The Cats are 3-4-3 in the same stretch, grabbing 9 of 20. And that is being kind, minus the Montreal deal.

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Good thing he's not from Winnipeg, Hartford, or - gulp - Kansas City.

BATTERED AND BRUISED


Florida Panthers Injuries

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
Kamil Kreps shoulder 12.28.2008
Cory Murphy shoulder 10.29.2008

Murphy is firmly ensconced in Rochester, and no further moves are anticipated.


Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Nik Antropov illness 12.30.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jamal Mayers broken right hand 12.2.2008
Mike Van Ryn concussion 12.18.2008
Luke Schenn knee 12.7.2008


Calder-candidate Schenn is rumored to be returning tonight from a month-long absence. Van Ryn's first match against his former club will have to wait for another day.


AT THE ENDS


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Tomas Vokoun 25 1292 8 12 1 4 61 2.83 722 661 .916 3


Having started the past two contests, "backup" Craig Anderson will sit this one out in favor of Vokoun, who whitewashed the Leafs last February.


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Vesa Toskala 33 1888 14 12 5 2 102 3.24 884 782 .885 1


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Curtis Joseph 10 412 1 5 1 1 27 3.93 179 152 .849 0


Though technically over .500, Toskala has been struggling of late, since starting the year hot. Joseph is purely stopgap.

DIVISIONALLY SPEAKING


Southeast Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Washington 40 26 11 3 55
Carolina 40 20 15 5 45
Florida 39 17 16 6 40
Tampa Bay 39 11 18 10 32
Atlanta 40 13 22 5 31

(updated 1.5.2009 at 9:13 AM EST)


No Southeast club played last night, so obviously there's little to update. Tonight, though, tells a different tale.

Philadelphia visits the Verizon Center, and the first-place Capitals may have their hands full on this one. Oh, who am I kidding. The Caps ain't losing anytime soon.

The Devils travel to Raleigh for a stint against the second-place Hurricanes. This could be the Fascinating Game of the Night.

Atlanta's Thrashers invade the Igloo Mellon Center. Scratch the above game: this is the one to watch. The Pens rolled over at MSG on Monday, losing 4-0 to the Rangahs. Is anyone in the league on a shorter leash than Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien? I thought he'd be history after the Cats ripped his club on home ice Sunday. As of 11 pm Monday, with yet another embarrassing defeat behind him, he remains employed. The Pensblog continues utilizing the Elmo-from-a-noose graphic. Tough days indeed.

Keep an eye on: Carolina. As always, they are the team to beat, Florida-wise.

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A tad off-topic, but I'm considering making timely monthly payments again if it will only rid the planet of these media-created, MTV-inspired, Gen-Y losers. I weep for the future.

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Then there's this guy: he's 49 and playing in a rock band. Newsflash: Keith Richards is like a catatonic 70 and playing in a rock band, and he's never dreamt of fitness equipment. I'm 37 and writing a hockey blog. Bowflex isn't gonna change that for me. Fine.

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From the same outfit who gave us "Bald Rock Star from D-list Band", we have Bryan Alvarez. Ready to jump out of a blimp on this one too. Hey Bry: You only look progressively more anti-heterosexual when overdoing it with the "wife gives me that wink" thing. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

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Not to fear, Klee Irwin is just a channel away at 4 am, ready to cleanse your colon with the finest in mystery "pharmaceuticals" with very few details. Even better is that mafia kingpin doing the "interview". This guy really creeps me out. Would you purchase digestion-enhancing drugs from him? With those fingers?

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FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE