Coach of the year? Photo Source: AP/Gene J Puskar

Panthers Gameday: At The Penguins

It’s an early faceoff for the Florida Panthers today, who are in Pittsburgh to face the Penguins, so today’s musical selection is something mellow. So as a fill in for Frank today, I give you Kris Kristofferson’s Sunday Mornin Coming Down. It’s a song he wrote that Johnny Cash and Ray Stevens had a hit with before he even recorded it himself. On to the hockey!

The Panthers broke their goal drought on Friday, but it still wasn’t enough to stop their losing skid in Buffalo. Today, they get the shorthanded Penguins, who have continued to win under every circumstance. They come in riding a three game winning streak since last Sunday’s game in New York which saw Matt Cooke commit the act that will keep him out awhile.

A ton of credit needs to be given to Pens coach Dan Bylsma, who has kept this team rolling without the best player in the game in Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee, out of season).  In addition, there have been several key contributors who have missed considerable time and even that hasn’t slowed them down.  Currently, the Pens are sitting with 96 points, four points behind the Philadelphia Flyers in the Atlantic Division and riding a three game winning streak. If Crosby can return to this club in time for the playoffs (and he did skate this morning), they’re going to be a scary team when the playoffs start.

On the Panthers side, things aren’t so rosy right now: four game losing streak, no playoffs for 10th straight year, injuries. Right now, the Panthers sit in 27th place with 68 points, one ahead of Ottawa, who have been hot (7-3-0 in last 10) as of late. So, as we near the finish line, it looks like 28th in the league is where they’ll finish for the second consecutive season.

David Booth is questionable today for Florida. For Pittsburgh, the news is a little better, as Brooks Orpik is expected to be back in the lineup today for the first time in over a month.

You can check out TSN’s Gameday here. Also, check out Fansided’s Pittsburgh site, Pens Labyrinth.

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Tags: Dan Bylsma Evgeni Malkin Florida Panthers Kris Kiristofferson Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby

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