Panthers Insider

Looking For More Success Against Toronto

Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 12:23 PM ET
By Glenn Odebralski - / Panthers Insider
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Mike Santorelli celebrates one of his two goals against Toronto on February 28th. The Panthers won 5-3 at Air Canada Centre.
The Panthers and Maple Leafs will battle for a huge two points Tuesday night at the BankAtlantic Center.

While Florida is looking to stay ahead of the rest of the Southeast (Washington also plays on Long Island), Toronto is trying to stay in the playoff hunt.

Florida has had success this season against Toronto, taking the first three games of the series and have scored five goals in each of those games. But for Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen, the past is the past.

"That's one stat I don't buy too much into," said Dineen following the Cats morning skate when asked about relying on success this season against the Leafs for tonight's game. "I think you feel where your team is, the ebbs and flow of a season and where we're at right now, I think there's a large sense of desperation in our game as well as the Leafs. So it has a mixture of a pretty good hockey game."

While the Panthers put up 15 goals in the season series, Dineen is more worried about the Panthers offense as of late.

"You look at your previous games against a team and you also look at your most recent production and our production recently, probably is where the focus is because we haven't been that strong," said Dineen. "Obviously we have had a couple of strong games in Toronto. It might be the amount of representation our team has from Ontario that guys are certainly up for it. But it's been a good matchup thus far."

Toronto, which is 2-12-2 in their last 16 games, made a coaching change on March 2nd bringing in former Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle. Dineen has a past with Carlyle when the two worked in the Ducks organization. Knowing Carlyle and other personnel, the Cat's bench boss is excited for the chance to go head-to-head with the Leafs.

"We know there's been a change there since we last seen them," said Dineen. "I put in three years with Randy (Carlyle) and Dave Farrish in Anaheim. I know their thoughts on the game and it will be a certainly be a stiff team to play against defensively.

"I'm closely associated with that personnel. Brian Burke was the first guy to hire me and I know Dave Poulin, Claude Loiselle and my brother coaches in that organization but I also had a lot of conversations with Burkie over the year and he is good friends with a lot of GMs in the league and a lot of people.

"What's the balance there, you wish other people well but when you play against them, you want to put the hammer down and that's our gameplan."

While the Panthers offense has struggled of late (three goals in three games), one forward that has produced is Tomas Fleischmann.

The forward is tied for the team lead in points with 49 and has scored the team's first goal of the game in the last two contests.

"As a coach you're kind of looking for players that have a little jump to their game. For me, I've been trying to find him an extra shift here and there just because it seems that every time he's been on the ice, he's creating some quality offensive chances and you like to see that," said Dineen of Fleischmann's play. "The previous four, five games they weren't going in for him but he still had that jump and now he's starting to find the net so hopefully he'll feed off of that."

Fleischmann's 22 goals this season, also tied for the team lead with Kris Versteeg, are already one short of tying his career high. He recorded 23 goals with Washington during the 2009-10 season.

Forward Kris Versteeg continues to skate but Dineen said that it will still take some time.

"He's getting there," said Dineen. "He's not in the lineup tonight and I would say he is doubtful for the game Thursday but he's making good strides."

Versteeg as well as injured defenseman Dmitry Kulikov are both possible for the end of the Panthers four-game homestand.

The news from the morning skate wasn't as promising for forward Jack Skille as Dineen stated that he will be out long term.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18 is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.