DALLAS STARS: PRESEASON RECORD 3-1
FLORIDA PANTHERS: PRESEASON RECORD: 1-3
FANSIDED OPPONENT SITE: BLACKOUTDALLAS
Good grief. I can’t remember the last time I did a game preview, but it sure feels good to do one today! Tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center the Florida Panthers will host the Dallas Stars in the final home preseason game. With the recent “minor procedure” on goaltender Scott Clemmensen on Monday, Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal tonight and will be sharing time with Tyler Plante, as they both vie for the backup role to Jose Theodore. The exact time frame of how long Clemmensen will be out for is in the 3 to 8 week range, therefore one of these youngsters needs to prove that they belong.
While the game is not televised, you can be relieved to know that WQAM will be doing the broadcast with Randy Moeller on the play by play for the first time this season. I will also tell you that here at The Rat Trick we’ll be doing some live chats for certain games once the season begins, so be on the lookout for that.
The Panthers are coming off a disappointing weekend in a home and home series against their cross state rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning. Having given up a combined 10 goals in those contests, the Panthers and coach Kevin Dineen know that things need to tighten up a bit in order for the Cats to be successful. Tonight’s forward lineup will feature bubble players such as Tim Kennedy (who had two assists Saturday night and has 3 points in three games), Jack “Crash” Skille, and Jonathan Huberdeau, who quite possibly has earned at least a nine game look see before the Panthers ultimately decide what to do with the young and highly skilled forward.
Defensively you could be looking at the six regular starters for the season, and as you know me and Little Miss Rat Trick would be ecstatic if that were the case as Erik Gudbranson will be paired with Jovo Cop, and Brian Campbell with Jason Garrison and Dmitry Kulikov will be paired with Mike Weaver. Keaton Ellerby is sitting this one out, and I’m not quite sure how to take that, as we can count on Campbell, Jovo and most likely Garrison to make the team. Leaving Ellerby, Weaver and Big G as the question marks for the 6 defencemen.
Returning home in a way is Radek Dvorak now a member of the Stars. As odd as it was to see Dvorak in a Thrashers sweater last season it will be just as strange to see him with the star on his chest. This happens to be the only time that Dallas will come to Florida this season, and last year the Stars beat the Panthers 4-1 with Tom Wandell scoring twice for Dallas and Stephen Weiss getting the lone Panther goal. Dallas is 3-1 so far in the preseason and the two teams will faceoff against each other again Thursday in Texas.
The lineup tonight is as follows:
Watching from the Press Box:
Frank Rekas, Dave Lasseter, Josh Luecht Stephen Weiss, Evgeny Dadonov, Matt Bradley, Ryan Carter, Keaton Ellerby, Jose Theodore and Mike Kostka.
What to look for:
Not me, I won’t be there. The play of Jonathan Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson, Tim Kennedy, and the goaltenders. We still have players fighting for jobs, and while this isn’t the lineup you’ll see come opening night, there are at least four players that will be desperate to show they belong.
What to cheer? When Kris Versteeg scores a goal, yell in unison “VERSTEEG”!
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