Florida: 27-20-12 (66PTS)
Carolina: 23-26-12 (58PTS)
Season Series: 2-0-0
Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida
Radio: 560 WQAM
Tonight the Panthers visit Raleigh and the Carolina Hurricanes. The Panthers lost their Southeast Division lead to the Winnipeg Jets this week, while the Washington Capitals have gained on both. The Cats are in eighth place now for the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Panthers win and the Jets lose, the Cats will be back in first. The ninth and tenth place Leafs and Capitals are both one point behind the Cats and they play each other tonight, so if the Panthers lose, they will drop down to ninth place in the conference behind the winner of that game. So, to say tonight's game is important is a bit of an understatement. Going in the Panthers' favor is their thus far unbeaten record against the Hurricanes. They will need to keep up that performance over the rest of the season to have a shot at regaining and holding the division lead. The Hurricanes, for their part, started off badly but have been pretty good over the last several weeks. They're 5-3-2 in their last ten and have pulled ahead of the Montreal Canadiens at the bottom of the conference standings.
News and Notes
Kris Versteeg had the OT game winner and Jose Theodore the win as the Panthers edged the Hurricanes 3-2 in Raleigh back in December.
The Panthers lost 3-2 in the shootout to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
D Nolan Yonkman was reassigned to San Antonio and Ed Jovanovski returned to the Panthers lineup on Thursday. D Tyson Strachan was reassigned to the Rampage yesterday to make room for Jason Garrison, who is expected to play tonight. The Panthers traded a draft pick to the Nashville Predators for F Jerrod Smithson. He is in Carolina and is expected to play. Michal Repik was reassigned to the Rampage to make room for Smithson. Sean Bergenheim has missed the morning skate, but is expected to play tonight. F Wojtek Wolski was traded from the Rangers this morning and is on his way to Raleigh. He is expected to play tonight, though F Jon Matsumoto remains on the roster as insurance.
- F Scottie Upshall (core), 2/1, 6 to 8 weeks
- F Marco Sturm (lower body), 2/2 unknown
- D Dmitry Kulikov (knee), 1/21, 6 to 8 weeks
- D Jason Garrison (lower body), 2/11, 7 to 10 days
- F John Madden (lower body), 2/17, 2 weeks
- F Matt Bradley (concussion), 2/19, indefinitely
- F Marcel Goc
- F Jonathan Matsumoto
Jose Theodore will face off against Justin Peters.