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Gameday: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes


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Reports of quality-control problems with the ice surface at RBC were evidently true.

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Cats @ Canes, 7p - RBC Center, FSN-FL (HD!)

Panthers: 26-19-8 60P, 2nd in SE Hurricanes: 27-22-5 59P, 3rd in SE

LAST 10: FLA: 6-3-1 TOR: 6-4-0

HOME & AWAY: FLA (A): 12-13-3 CAR (H): 14-10-1

GAME 5 of 6 SEASON SERIES: 2-1-1 (FLA)

ALL-TIME: 40-28-11 (HAR/CAR)

PROMOTIONS: Teeechur Apresheashun Nite

Here's the big one.

53 games in. The Panthers hold a one-point hold on eighth-place. Dominating victories. Come-from-behind heroics. Goals-of-the-week. Strengthened confidence and a newborn sense of unity and team. A Jack Adams-candidate coach.

Welcome to Raleigh, fellas. I won't bring up the past. Won't do it. We all know the record. The disappointments. The questionable calls. Blown leads. Crushing losses. We have our opinions on Eric Staal. I shall not post "diver down" flags, nor will I make half-assed corny references to Hartford. Ancient history.

"It's definitely crunch time for us, and all you have to do to remind yourself is to take a look at those standings and see how tight of a race it is,"

- Canes' goaltender Cam Ward

The Florida Panthers have improved tremendously and conquered many demons in so remarkably short a period. We as fans can let go of the animosity, believe in the new-version Cats, and cheer on what may be a brave new world of success for our club.

Carolina is - to me - the Panthers' most legitimate rival. There is a (real or perceived) sense of anger and competitiveness; almost a snarling respect for one another, even after several years of what some considered to be the Hurricanes playing a less-than-honorable style of hockey. That coach is no longer there. So let's collectively wipe the past from our minds. This is a new Panthers squad.

''(This) will be like a playoff game,''

- Cats' coach Pete DeBoer

Actually, coach...EVERY game has been a playoff game this season. There have been no easy nights. The Cats will not simply cruise into the postseason without treating each and every contest, no matter the opponent, as a one-game playoff.

Florida is currently 2-1-1 against the Canes this year. That stat actually pleasantly surprised me. Let's make it three, guys. Keep it rollin'.

BATTERED & BRUISED


Carolina Hurricanes Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Rod Brind`Amour groin 02/10/2009

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Frantisek Kaberle other-excused 02/08/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Dennis Seidenberg groin 01/28/2009
Scott Walker head 01/28/2009

Brindy returns tonight, continuing his quest for the Selke.


Florida Panthers Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Wade Belak shoulder 02/11/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Bryan Allen knee 10/12/2008
Rostislav Olesz sports-hernia 12/06/2008

Same old here, though Belak's still a bit under the weather.

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FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

THE WARMUP


Noah Welch ('member him?) goads rookie Brandon Sutter into a scrap, December 18, 2008. Nice effort, Noah.