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LBC GameDay Caterwaul: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs

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Gutsy win in Montreal leads to Thursday date with plucky Leafs

NHL: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers (8-7-1 17P) vs Maple Leafs (7-6-3 17P)

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  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET - LBC GameThread right here at 7ish
  • WHERE: Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON
  • ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, TSN4
  • ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM, 640 WMEN
  • SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers, #Leafs, #FLAvsTOR, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
  • ENEMY INTEL: Pension Plan Puppets
  • SB NATION: Game Feature Hub
  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 2 of 5 (0-1-0)
  • ALL-TIME vs TOR (RS): 33W-31L-7T 2OTL 3SOL 227GF 217GA
  • ALL-TIME at TOR (RS): 16W-16L-2T 1OTL 2SOL 111GF 109GA
  • LAST FIVE vs TOR (RS): 3-2-0 17GF 13GA
  • LAST MEETING: TOR 3, FLA 2 (REG) at the ACC (Todd’s Recap) - 10/27/2016
  • NEXT MEETING: 12/28/2016 in Sunrise
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Reimer (2-2-1 .905/2.72), Andersen (7-4-3 .904/3.32)
  • JAGR WATCH: All-time vs TOR (RS): 60GP 33G-45A 78P +12 5GWG
  • PLAYER STATS: Florida / Toronto

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Yahoo! Sports Preview:

Aaron Ekblad scored the overtime winner for the Panthers on Tuesday, breaking his own stick on the shot. The slow-rolling puck was then deflected into the goal by a Montreal player. "You'll take those when you can get them," the 20-year-old said. "There's plenty of times when it should go in and won't, and I've been feeling that so far this season for sure. Maybe a few of us or the team haven't gotten those bounces but now that we did, we feel confident that we can take that with us." Panthers coach Gerard Gallant hopes the goal could be the start of a good stretch for Ekblad. "He's had a tough go so far," Gallant said. "Aaron's a guy that gets a lot of points. He's got three goals so far, he wants to get more points and get more on the board. Sometimes a goal like that will turn things around." (more)

NHL.com Preview:

Centers Auston Matthews and Tyler Bozak missed the morning skate, but each will be in the lineup. "They were good enough to eat, they were good enough to be in the meetings so they can't be that bad," coach Mike Babcock said, when asked if they were feeling under the weather. Matthews is without a goal in his past 10 games and has two assists in that span. Defenseman Connor Carrick will return to the lineup after sitting out the past two games. "The big thing for him is he's not a huge man but he's an elite skater with a great brain and so he's got to do more with his stick... and just use his skill set," Babcock said. The Maple Leafs have won five of their past seven games (5-2-0) and are coming off a 6-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Toronto is 6-2-0 at Air Canada Centre. (more)

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Last game for the Cats: 4-3 (OT) victory Tuesday at Montreal. Past five: 3-2-0 (streak: 2W)

Last game for the Buds: 6-2 home win vs Nashville on Tuesday. Past five: 3-2-0 (streak: 1W)

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Thursday in the Atlantic Division (Standings / Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • TAMPA BAY (10-6-1 21P) at BUFFALO (5-7-4 14P), 7:00
  • Nashville (6-6-3 15P) at OTTAWA (10-5-1 21P), 7:30
  • BOSTON (10-6-0 20P) at Minnesota (8-6-1 17P), 8:00
  • Idle: MTL (28P), DET (17P)

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