Gameday Preview: Chicago South vs. Panthers

5-4-2

VS.

4-5-0

Afternoon all.  No Kitty Litter for today due to a heavy work load, but I do have a music video for you.  Here’s Atlanta’s own Dead Confederate’s with their new single Giving It All Away.

After a few days off since their road victory in Montreal, the Florida Panthers will take on the Atlanta Thrash-hawks tonight at “The Bank”.  Atlanta comes into town sporting a record of 5-4-2, good enough for 12 points in the Eastern Conference.

They’ve gone through some significant changes since last season not only behind the bench with former NHLer Craig Ramsey as the head coach, but on the roster as well.  With the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks (good god I love typing that) forced to get rid of some salary, the Hawks and Atlanta made a blockbuster deal in the offseason as the Hawks bid adieu to some vital parts to their cup winning team.

Arriving in Atlanta were Andrew Ladd who played in the cup final recovering from a fractured shoulder (Stevie that’s for you), and now leads the Thrashers in points with 12.  Also added were Big Buff, Dustin Byfuglien, who scored a highlight reel goal last week in overtime.  Buff is tied for second in scoring on the Hawks Thrashers with 10 points.  Although instead of playing forward he’s been playing on defence.  Shot blocking expert and a guy whose hair gives Steve Nash quite the challenge, Brent Sopel also came over in the deal and is one of the reliable defenders on defence.

Former Panther Anthony Stewart may have found a home in Atlanta and is in the top five in scoring with 8 points with 4 goals and 4 helpers, including his first NHL Hat Trick a couple weeks ago.  Stewie is averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time and is aiming to stick with the big club.  Good for him as I don’t think he ever got a fair shot here, playing mostly on the fourth line. Keep an eye on Evander Kane a very promising youngster who appears to have a bright future as well.  Kane leads the Thrashers with six goals.

Chris Mason seems to be the number one netminder for now, although Ondrej Pavelec seems to have recovered from his collapse on the ice from a couple weeks ago, which sent quite the scare into many people watching that game.  Pavelec should start seeing more action now that he appears to be recovered.

This is a much different Atlanta team than we are used to seeing in the past.  They are bigger, quicker and more dangerous than before, and that’s without Ilya Kovalchuk who was their only offensive threat.  I wouldn’t take this game lightly by any means.

As for the Cats, they are coming off a well played road game against the Montreal Canadiens which saw Tomas Vokoun and David Booth lead the way to victory.  Vokoun with another solid effort in the nets, and Booth using his speed to draw a penalty shot that he ended up converting on.  For most of that game Florida was in control, although there were a few minutes in the third that they appeared to be running around a bit and looking flustered.  Nonetheless, they managed to hang on and salvage the road trip.

What worries me about tonight’s game is that the Panthers haven’t played since Saturday night, were given Sunday off and David Booth made an appearance at Doris market on Tuesday afternoon stuffing pastry.  I’m not really sure how much time off you need this early in the season, but let’s place bets on how slow the Panthers start this game shall we?

Also, as I prepare this post, it is unknown whether Little Stevie will dress for the game.  His tweaked ankle and missing tooth caused him to sit out the Canadiens game, and while he partcipated in Tueday’s practice, he was wearing a non-contact jersey.  I’m not sure if that meant don’t touch him, or that he doesn’t touch anyone!

Chris Higgins and Michael Frolik finally each have their first goals of the season, so hopefully they can get themselves in gear, as this season it’s offence by committee.  A quick and fast pace to this game is needed.  Let’s not spend the entire first 20 minutes trying to fins our game and chipping the puck out of the zone until we get into game shape for the night.

Here’s the TSN Gameday preview.

For the Hotlanta viewpoint of tonight’s affair to to our FanSided friends at Thrasherbacker.

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Tags: Andrew Ladd Big Buff Brent Sopel Chris Higgins Craig Ramsey David Booth Little Stevie Michael Frolik Tomas Vokoun

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