The Florida Panthers and Peter DeBoer

Panther Preview: Getting To .500 Is Possible. Tonight!

Montreal Canadiens and Jacques Martin

20-16-2

VS.

16-17-1

Todays music video is a live performance by the band Of Montreal, singing An Eluardian Instance.  The group ironically is from Athens, Georgia.

Tonight the Montreal Canadiens and old friend Uncle Jack will visit the Bank Atlantic Center in front of what looks to be another sellout crowd against the Florida Panthers.   A New Years eve match that begins at 5:00 P.M.  The Habs will be playing the last game of a seven game road trip which hasn’t gone well for them at all, as they have lost five of six on the trip, including three in a row.  Their latest loss was last night to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-1.  The natives in Montreal are getting restless.  Just take a look at Four Habs Fans.

Part of the teams recent struggle could be the overuse of goaltender Carey Price who started out looking as though he was a Vezina Trophy candidate winning 17 of his first 26 starts while compiling a 1.92 GAA.  However in his last 9 starts Carey is 2-7-0 with a 3.52 GAA!  Gaudy numbers.  Former Panther Alex Auld could be making his fourth start of the season tonight.

Montreal is also suffering from a goal scoring drought, something that seems to always follow a Jacques Martin coached team around.  The Habs have been held to two goals or less seven times in the last 15 games and have a record of 3-15 when they fail to score more than twice.  Maybe someone should tell Jacques that you can’t just toss out 5 gallon buckets of paint on the ice and watch it dry for 60 minutes.

When you look at the TSN gameday preview, no Montreal player is listed as hot.  Although the fans breathing down the neck of JM, I’m sure he’s feeling some unwanted heat.

Brian Gionta leads with 12 goals, and Tomas Plekanec leads in points with 30.  Mike Cammalleri who’s always dangerous also has 12 goals.  Defensively the Candadiens will be without Andrei Markov who again is sidelined with an injury.  They have recently picked up the overrated as well as overpaid (perfect for JM) James Wisniewski from the Islanders.  When Montreal scores three goals or more their record is 17-1-2.

The Florida Panthers have had some time off since their defeat on Monday to the Boston Bruins in a shootout loss.  The 3-2 loss spoiled a solid effort by goaltender Scott Clemmensen who made 40 saves.  The Panthers need to find a way to cut down the shots against.  The Bruins game coupled with the Buffalo win, had 85 plus shots fired at Panthers goaltenders in two games.

Stephen Weiss may have found his scoring touch for Florida as he now has 11 points in his last nine games, projecting to 53 for the season.  Evgeny Dadonov continues to impress with his speed and playmaking ability as he was on the top line for most of the night against the Bruins.  David Booth scored Monday night for the first time in a couple weeks, and it will be important for him and the Panthers to get on a streak.  Florida needs him to be contributing offensively on a consistent basis.

The lineup could be different for the Panthers tonight as Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak and Rusty Olesz apparently are all healthy enough to play after recovering from various injuries.  It will be interesting to see who sits, and what the lines look like as we start out tonight.

Keys for the Panthers:  Jump on Montreal early.  They are a fragile team, and most likely want to get this road trio overwith and go home.  They played last night so fatigue is a factor.  The building will be full, many fans of which will be cheering for the Canadiens.  Score early, shut them up, and get our fans going.  Play a full 60 minutes and don’t let up.

Take trip over to our FanSided opponent A Winning Habit.

Closing out 2010 with a win is not only important, it’s imperative!

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Tags: Alex Auld Carey Price Evgeny Dadonov Florida Panthers Jacques Martin Montreal Candiens Scott Clemmensen Stephen Weiss

  • slapshot1106

    I think the Panthers record is justifiable so far, especially for a team in the 1st year of a rebuild.. Yes they should probably even have a few more pts, but those things happen to lesser-talented squads…

    The next 2-3 weeks will dictate the Panthers season. They’ve gotten to this point and stayed close enough to compete, now with a majority of home games coming up they need to make a run if they’re to take the next level toward the 8th seed… They can’t play 50/50 hockey. They need to at least be 3-4 games over 500… That should close the gap enough where we could realistically take a look at the 7-8-9 slots… Now will this happen? I doubt it, but we can hope….

    By the way, don’t look now but Carolina has picked up some points and is making a run at the 8th seed. If so, that would give the southeast division 4 teams out of 8.. Again will it happen, probably not, but it has to give a little more repsect from the rest of the NHL… Unfortunately for us, that would leave us as the only team in the division not to make it… But we are progressing, so it could be a whole lot worse…

    Either way, it’s make or break time!! Happy New Year!!

    • Frank Rekas

      This is a big month slap shot. With all the home games we need wins, and lots of them.
      Rhino on waivers, so things could be changing. We need to push forward, win as many as possible, starting tonight.

      Happy New Year