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Los Angeles Kings at Florida Panthers - Game 53 Preview

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Florida: 24-17-11 (59PTS)
Washington: 26-18-10 (62PTS)
Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports West
Radio: 640 WFTL

The Panthers find themselves in a familiar position tonight: looking up at a playoff spot. What is unfamiliar, perhaps, is that they are two points out with 30 games left in the season. The Kings are 5-3-2 in their last ten while the Panthers are 3-4-3. Additionally, the Cats have not beaten the Kings since November 2002. Jani Hurme had the win in that one and the only current Cat in the game was Stephen Weiss. The only active players playing for the Cats that night were Weiss, Olli Jokinen, Andreas Lilja, Jay Bouwmeester and Kristian Huselius. What we're saying is that it's been a while. But the time for the Panthers to step up is now, if they want to be playing hockey after April 7. The stats don't matter and the history doesn't matter. What matters is getting a solid start, not giving up an early goal and putting some pucks in the net.

More from our Washington cohorts at Jewels From The Crown.
Kings vs Panthers coverage coverage at SB Nation.
SB Nation Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

Dustin Brown had the game winner and Jonathan Quick the win in goal as the Kings edged the Cats 2-1 in Los Angeles back on December 1.

Last game

The Panthers were shut out by former Cats goalie Tomas Vokoun and the Washington Capitals 4-0 in DC on Tuesday night.

Lineup

The only lineup change today is Brian Foster was returned to San Antonio. Jose Theodore is expected to back up Scott Clemmensen tonight and play in one of the games this weekend. Jack Skille, Ed Jovanovski and Jacob Markstrom are all skating again, but only Skille is nearing return.

Injuries

  • F Jack Skille (shoulder), 1/22, two weeks
  • F Marco Sturm (lower body), 2/2, unknown
  • F Scottie Upshall (core), 2/1, 6 to 8 weeks
  • G Jacob Markstrom (knee), 1/7, 4 to 6 weeks
  • D Ed Jovanovski (hand), 1/16, week to week
  • D Dmitry Kulikov (knee), 1/21, 6 to 8 weeks

Possible Scratches

  • None

Starting goaltenders:

Scott Clemmensen will face off against All-Star goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Lines

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