Pittsburgh Penguins Gameday 49: Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers (18-23-7) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (34-12-2)
Root Sports, FS-F- 7:00 pm/et 
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

Remember hockey? It's back! In Pens versus Panthers form!

James Neal and Paul Martin should be back in the line-up. Chuck Kobasew and Jayson Megna too.


Leading Scorers:

Penguins: Sidney Crosby (25G, 43A: 68P)
Panthers: Aleksander Barkov (8G, 15A: 23P)

Starting Goaltenders:

Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (27-10-1, 2.26 GAA, .917 Sv%)
Panthers: Scott Clemmensen (5-4-1, 2.91 GAA, .894 Sv%)

Last Games:

Penguins: Defeated Washington Capitals 4-3.
Panthers: Lost to Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Previews from Team Websites:  [Penguins] [Panthers]

Opposition Blog: [Litter Box Cats]
What They're Saying: "Florida Panthers Visit Pittsburgh Penguins"

After calling his players out for a lack of desperation in their play, Florida Panthers head coach Peter Horachek better hope his team plays desperate tonight, as the Cats head into Pittsburgh and try to survive the high-octane offense of the Penguins. This game has the potential to get really ugly really fast for Florida if they don't bring their "A" game, and netminder Tim Thomas is going to have to be at his best, making big saves when necessary and controlling his rebounds. The Penguins have talent all over the lineup and can seemingly score at will when they want to. The Panthers, however, couldn't score much in the last few games and can't score a power play goal to save their lives.

How can the Panthers come out of the CONSOL Energy Center with two points? By keeping it simple. The Penguins are a team that the Cats beat earlier this season by keeping their scorers away from the high-percentage scoring areas, playing solid defense to keep the opposition to the perimeter and keeping traffic out of the blue paint. Florida basically has to play solid defensive hockey to have a shot, as the anemic offense will likely have trouble putting more than two in the Pens' net over the course of the game. The Panthers can capitalize in the transition game with speed by generating turnovers, but they also have to be careful to not get caught with too many forwards deep.

What Happened Last Time: November 30, 2013 – Pens won 5-1 [Our Recap]

Crosby and Malkin are playing a nice little game of grab-ass. Malkin is sneaking up on Crosby in the points race. Crosby saw that and had himself a 3-point night against Tampa Bay. Malkin answered with a 4-point night in this one.

Everything is roses right now. The Pens survived and even thrived during the first period of this one, and that was pretty much the game. And finally, to our enjoyment, the Pens won the giveaway battle 5-2.

Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Paul Martin. Welcome back.

Panthers Player(s) to Watch: Scott Clemmensen, because we briefly forgot he was still in the NHL. Speaking of which, Ed Jovanovski is still an NHL player. And captain of the Panthers.

Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game: 

Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Penguins.NHL.com:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Chuck Kobasew
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Taylor Pyatt – Brandon Sutter – Tanner Glass
Craig Adams – Zach Sill – Jayson Megna
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Marc-Andre Fleury

We won't believe that Engelland isn't playing until the game starts. Bylsma will find a place to put him. We truly believe this.

Florida Panthers lines from Daily Faceoff:

Tomas Fleischmann – Nick Bjugstad – Scottie Upshall
Sean Bergenheim – Aleksander Barkov – Brad Boyes 
Jonathan Huberdeau – Marcel Goc – Tomas Kopecky
Shawn Matthias – Drew Shore – Krys Barch
Brian Campbell – Tom Gilbert 
Erik Gudbranson – Ed Jovanovski
Dmitry Kulikov – Mike Weaver 
Scott Clemmensen