Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Gameday: Florida Panthers vs Toronto Maple Leafs


The Florida Panthers take on the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, trying to erase their current three game losing streak in which they have been outscored 16-6. That includes a 6-3 loss to the same Maple Leaf team they play tonight.

This will be the third and final meeting between the newly made division rivals, with this game determining who wins the season series.

Toronto is led, as always, by Phil Kessel who is on a tear recently. Leading the team in points (61), goals (30) and assist (31), he has nine points in the last four games including a hat trick in his most recent game.

After their 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Panthers have two (after tonight) games left before the Olympic break and with only two players participating – breaking on a good note is important for a group who mostly will be staying at home.

Goalie Matchup

Jonathan Bernier

 

Tim Thomas

20-15-5

Record

14-16-3

2.62

GAA

2.79

.925

Save %

.911

1

Shutouts

0

 

Bernier was the goaltender in the team’s last meeting, but this will be Thomas’ first appearance against the Maple Leafs this year. In his career, Thomas has faced Toronto 32-times and has a 20-6-5 record – posting a 2.72 GAA and .912 save percentage.

Panther to Watch

Dmitry Kulikov

In 13-career games against the Maple Leafs, Kulikov has registered eight points (3 G, 5 A) and has posted a +6 rating. Kulikov has registered 22-or more minutes in the previous six contest and scored in the team’s last meeting.

The New Year has been nice to Kulikov, who has scored four of his six goals since January. He is a very important part the team – both in the present and hopefully the future. Tonight he will have to have a big game on both sides of the ice if the Panthers are going to take the season series against Toronto.

Anthony Murphy is the Editor at The Rat Trick. You can follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC or contact him by email [email protected]

Tags: Dmitry Kulikov Florida Panthers Gameday Preview