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Pittsburgh Penguins at Florida Panthers - Game 43 Preview

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Florida: 21-13-8 (50PTS)
Pittsburgh: 21-17-4 (46PTS)
Season Series: 1-1-0
Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, ROOT Sports
Radio: 560 WQAM

The Penguins visit Sunrise for the second and final time this season. The Pens are without star forward Sidney Crosby, as well as Jordan Staal, Kris Letang and more. They're currently riding a 6 game losing streak, but are always an opponent to be taken seriously. Even without Crosby and Staal, the team still boasts forwards Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, who is having a stellar season following last year's trade from the Dallas Stars. Penguins-Panthers tilts are pretty much always exciting ones, so even without Crosby's star power and his and Staal's offense, this should be an entertaining one and also one that the Cats need to take seriously. The Panthers have only a four point lead on Washington and are only in third place in the Eastern Conference because they're at the front of a weak division. Both the Flyers and Senators have points on the Cats despite being seeded lower in the Conference standings. The Panthers really need to continue to win on this pre-All Star Break home stand to put themselves in a better position in the Conference table.

More from our Pittsburgh cohorts at PensBurgh.
Penguins vs Panthers coverage at SB Nation.
SB Nation Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

The Panthers beat the Penguins 3-2 in Sunrise in November. Jose Theodore had the win and Stephen Weiss the game winner.

Last game

The Panthers held on to a 2-1 lead to beat the Vancouver Canucks in Sunrise on Monday night.

Lineup

Scottie Upshall and Jack Skille are skating again, but have not been cleared for contact. Both are expected to return in the next week or so. Jose Theodore will not dress tonight, but is expected back Monday for the Bruins game.

Injuries

  • F Scottie Upshall (hip), 11/10, 6 to 8 weeks
  • F Jack Skille (shoulder), 12/16, at least a week
  • F Sean Bergenheim (groin), unknown
  • F Marco Sturm (concussion), unknown
  • G Jose Theodore (lower body injury), two weeks
  • G Jacob Markstrom (knee), 1/7, 4 to 6 weeks

Healthy Scratches

  • D Keaton Ellerby OR
  • D Erik Gudbranson

Starting goaltenders:

Scott Clemmensen will likely face off against Pens starter Marc-Andre Fleury.

Projected Lines

Forwards
  1. Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg
  2. Matthias-Goc-Repik
  3. Samuelsson-Madden-Kopecky
  4. Barch-Santorelli-Bradley
Defense
  1. Campbell-Garrison
  2. Jovanovski-Gudbranson/Ellerby
  3. Kulikov-Weaver