Gameday Preview: Penguins vs. Panthers

Pittsburgh Penguins

11-8-2

VS.

Florida Panthers

9-9-0

The team in the NHL that I hate the most is in town tonight.  The Pittsburgh Penguins and Cindy Crosby, and that hack Matt Cooke take on the Florida Panthers at the Bank Atlantic Center.

Here’s the TSN gameday preview for tonight.

For the FanSided opposition viewpoint go to PensLabyrinth.

The Penguins come into Florida a bit “hot” with a 4-0-1 record since November 10th.  Previous to that they were a sluggish 2-5-1, with goaltender Marc-Andre Fluery playing significantly better as of late, winning both of his last two starts.  They have been suffering though from a problem that the Panther faithful can relate to, and that’s holding onto leads.    Even thought they ended up beating the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout Friday night by a score of 5-4, they lost three leads in the process.  Cindy Crosby says it’s little mistakes that just keep adding up.

Crosby leads the team in goals with 14 assists with 19 and points for 33.  Geno Malkin is hot right now with 8 points in his last four games,  and even the pest Matt Cooke has three points in three games.

As for the Panthers they are 5-2-0 at home and are coming off a decent road trip where they lost two of three, but beat the New York Islanders Saturday night 4-1, with four goals in the second period.  Mike Santorelli picked up two goals and has been playing very well, and the hard work that he puts in each night is beginning t pay off.

Tomas Vokoun is the pulse of this team right now.  As he goes, so go the Panthers.  In his last five games Vokoun is 4-1-0, with a 1.64 GAA and a brilliant .956 save percentage.  Stellar numbers for the netminder, as the team in front of him plays with either more confidence, or is willing to take more offensive chances.  David Booth however can’t seem to find the net lately, especially after his 14 shot on goal performance against the Boston Bruins.  Booth has only one point in his last seven games.

Injuries have hit the Cats with Rhino out with a groin, Rusty Olesz out with a broken finger, and Little Stevie is having trouble with a yeast infection a wonky ankle.  As of this typing it’s unknown whether he’ll be in the lineup tonight for his cat fight with Crosby.

The Panther power play continues to struggle and with three huge games this week starting with tonight, there is no better time for it to kick itself into gear.  Five power play goals just isn’t going to get the job done, and against better teams you need to convert the chances that you’re given.  Ranking last in the NHL on the power play is nothing to be proud of!

I’ll be a this one tonight looking for a Panther victory, and hoping to send some penguins fans home with their tails between their legs.  Last time the Pens were in town they beat the Panthers who were struggling, and acted as though they just won the Stanley Cup.  And you wonder why I hate them so much?

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Tags: Cindy Crosby David Booth Florida Pantehrs Geno Malkin Little Stevie Matt Cooke Mike Santorelli Pittsburgh Penguins Tomas Vokoun

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