Tonight, your Florida Panthers take on the Los Angeles Kings! Game time at 7:30 live from BankAtlantic Center!
Team G W L OTL Pts Standings GF GA Home/Road Los Angeles 54 17 30 7 41 5th, Pacific 147 195 6-18-0 Road Florida 53 20 23 10 50 4th, Southeast 153 169 14-9-3 Home
Los Angeles: Scott Thornton(wrist), Dan Cloutier(lower body), and Richard Petiot(knee) Florida: Todd Bertuzzi(back - early to mid February), Branislav Mezei(shoulder - out for the season), and Gary Roberts(hip flexor - Tuesday)
Expected Starting Goaltenders:
Los Angeles: TBD
Florida: Ed Belfour GP 32, W 13, L 10, OT/SOL 5, GAA 2.63, SV% .902, SO 0
Goals Alexander Frolov 26
Assists Anze Kopitar 32
Points Alexander Frolov 51
Plus/Minus Derek Armstrong 10
PP Goals Alexander Frolov 8
Wins Mathieu Garon 8
GAA Mathieu Garon 2.8
Save PCT Sean Burke .911
Goals Olli Jokinen 22
Assists Olli Jokinen 31
Points Olli Jokinen 53
Plus/Minus Jay Bouwmeester 14
PP Goals Olli Jokinen 7
Wins Ed Belfour 13
GAA Ed Belfour 2.63
Save PCT Ed Belfour .902
Team GR PTS
1. Buffalo * 29 74
2. New Jersey * 30 68
3. Atlanta * 28 66
4. Montreal 30 62
5. Ottawa 29 62
6. Pittsburgh 32 58
7. Tampa Bay 29 58
8. Carolina 28 58
9. Toronto 30 56
10. NY Rangers 31 54
11. NY Islanders 31 54 12. Florida 29 50
13. Washington 30 49
14. Boston 32 48
15. Philadelphia 31 31
* = Division Leaders
The Florida Panthers hope Jozef Stumpel can continue his surge Saturday and take advantage of the Western Conference-worst Los Angeles Kings when the teams meet for the only time this season.
Stumpel had two goals and an assist Thursday to lead Florida (20-23-10) to its third win in four games, 6-3 over Washington.
"We got a big performance out of people like Jozef Stumpel," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought his line was really excellent. Juraj Kolnik gave us a big game on that line, and it seems like the change of lines really helped out."
Stumpel appears to have benefited from Martin's changes that have added Kolnik, who had a goal and an assist Thursday, to his line with Rostislav Olesz.
Stumpel has 15 points over his last 11 games, including 10 points in five home games. The center had 26 points in the previous 41 overall contests and his point surge has moved him to second on the team in points behind Olli Jokinen (53).
"I feel comfortable out there," said Stumpel, who has 15 goals to match his total from last season. "We got this one done, and obviously we need to get the next one."
Stumpel looks to build on his recent performances and get his first point against Los Angeles -- one of his former clubs -- since Jan. 10, 2002, while with Boston. He had two stints with the Kings from 1997-2001 and again in 2003-04 before joining Florida as a free agent. The Czech Republic native had a career-best 79 points with Los Angeles in 1997-98.
His recent success has helped the Panthers go 6-1-1 at home since Dec. 23.
Jokinen, who played with Stumpel for the Kings from 1997-99, has been held without a goal in five straight games. He has 17 goals and 35 points in 26 home games this season, compared to five goals and 18 points in 27 road contests.
Jokinen has two points in seven games against his former club and was held pointless in the last two meetings -- both losses.
Now Roberts is looking to return on Tuesday. Bertuzzi's confidence continues to grow, and says after a few good strong practices that he'll be back within the next week or two. Stephen Weiss got his 100th NHL point in the last game.
Red Hot Cat Of The Night: Jozef Stumpel has now potted 12 points in his last 8 games.
PR's Totally Unsponsored Keys To The Game:
1. Be wary of Kopitar and Frolov and shots from the point such as Visnovsky.
2. Shot barrages and keeping them forechecked into their own zone. Good defense is a good offense.
3. Once again, another game that could be decided by special teams. Try to stay out of the box with stupid penalties and continuing capitalizing on the powerplay.
I'll be at the game tonight cheering our guys on. There is absolutely no reason to lose this game to a team with a record worse than ours, however as said in the GDT, the Kings have quite a few players we need to watch out for though.
I really like this Bertuzzi quote from the Herald: ''We're in a place right now where this team is in an exciting place and I want to get back into it,'' he said. ``This is hockey. We need to have fun out here. Sometimes we take for granted what we're doing and need to understand how much fun it is to not only play a game like hockey, but get paid well to do it. That gets lost on a lot of teams and I think it needs to be instilled here."
Seems like a guy who would be willing to cut that paycheck next year.
Let's hope we can keep the momentum from Thursday rolling tonight and give the Kings a thorough beating. I'd love to see Olesz get a goal tonight. I hope Eddie is in net - but I have a feeling it may be Auld.
OT - George Richards - you are the best! Thanks so much for the package.
I was so looking forward to watching this game, but i will be at the Sabres-Devils game. Like always though, i will be scoreboard watching. Cats will win tonight and i will go out on another limb and give another prediction. Try to make it 3 in a row. Panthers win 5-3. If this prediction comes true, then i definitely have to play the lottery. Although the thing that worries me is everytime i miss a Panthers game, which isnt many, they lose. Lets change that tonight, Lets go CATS.