LBC Game Day Preview: Florida Panthers Host Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars, winners of six games in their previous eight and fighting for a postseason berth, stroll into Sunrise with intentions on leaving the beleaguered Florida Panthers pointless and goalless.

Sweet, sweet mercy is in sight. Only four more games to go folks, and then we can close the book on this horrendous season to forget. The Panthers, losers of 12 of their last 15 games, are just playing out the string at this point, not even able to really get up the gumption to play the role of spoiler for teams in the hunt. After making Joey MacDonald look like Ken Dryden reborn, the Panthers turned in a stinker of a game against the Calgary Flames on Friday evening. It seems not even all of the young guys playing for spots next season are interested in competing at a high level, and sometimes I can't say I blame them, because if the others around you aren't doing the same thing, it's not going to work out anyway.

As I write this, Dallas is in sole possession of eight place in the Western Conference, and they have a game in hand on both Minnesota and Phoenix, who are respectively ahead of and behind the Stars. Dallas spanked the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday evening, with Stars captain Jamie Benn netting two goals. Yes, the Stars will be playing the second of back-to-back games at the BB&T Center this evening, but with Tim Thomas fresh in net, the Stars should have very little trouble with this anemic Panther lineup. Roberto Luongo looked good in his return from an upper body injury but with the lack of defensive support, he's going to have trouble keeping the puck out of his net without some help from the iron sisters behind him.

The Panthers again have a chance to play spoiler for a team that desperately needs points. We'll see if the Cats can get up for this one, or if they're continuing to just play out the season with as little interest as we've seen in the last 15-20 games. Dallas will come hard despite the scheduling and should test Florida early and often. By the way, Defending Big D will have any Dallas Stars coverage you may desire, so head on over there when you can and say hello.

Tim Thomas versus Roberto Luongo, puck drops at 5 PM. Be there... or not, you probably won't miss much.