Preview: Florida Panthers At St. Louis Blues

Oct 3, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (34) makes a save on a shot as Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21) looks for the rebound during the second period at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers (1-0-0) at St. Louis Blues (1-0-0)

The Florida Panthers continue their opening season road trip tonight when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues. The Panthers are looking to build off  Thursday night’s 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

A 2-0 start on the road would be a huge boost for this Panthers team that many were predicting would finish at the bottom of the standings again this year. On Thursday, Tim Thomas, 40, made a successful return to the NHL after voluntarily taking last season off. Thomas stopped 25 of 27 shots and picked up the win.

Thursday was a good night for new Panthers, old and young. Veteran Scott Gomez, 33, scored the first goal of the Panthers season, and top draft pick Aleksander Barkov, 18, tallied in his NHL debut.

The St. Louis Blues are a tough team with a stingy defense and stellar goalies so the Panthers will really have to bring it tonight if they hope to remain undefeated. In their season opening against Nashville on Thursday (a 4-2 victory as well), St. Louis demonstrated a little bit of offensive bite scoring three goals within the games first ten minutes. You can check out the game highlights below:

The Blues are a team that is built to go deep into the playoffs. They have a pair of strong goaltenders in Jaroslov Halak and Brian Elliot, and they have a strong blue line group with Jay Bouwmeester (long time no see), Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk. A win tonight for the Panthers would be an unmistakable statement that they plan to turn some heads this season.

Projected Lineup

I do not expect the Panthers lines to change much from their Thursday night configuration. Tim Thomas should be back in the net as well. Here is the lineup I expect to see:

Fleischmann-Goc-Versteeg

Huberdeau-Barkov-Boyes

Winchester-Matthias-Winchester

Upshall-Gomez-Shore

Campbell-Gilbert

Kulikov-Weaver

Gudbranson-Whitney

I am not too sure how the defense will line up. Dmitry Kulikov was ejected during the first period so the team rolled with five defensemen the rest of the game which meant they did not stick to any consistent pairings.

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Topics: Florida Panthers, St Louis Blues

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