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Cats Battle Bolts In Tampa

Tuesday, 03.25.2008 / 2:31 PM ET / Preview
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Cats Battle Bolts In Tampa
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
 
TAMPA - The Panthers prepared for their first road game in nearly three weeks Tuesday morning by skating here at St. Pete Times Forum.
 
The Panthers, 8-0-1 in their last nine games, are hoping to continue their playoff push tonight against the Lightning.
 
After beating the Lightning and goalie Mike Smith 4-2 Saturday at BankAtlantic Center, the Panthers will face goalie Karri Ramo. Smith was injured in practice Monday and will not dress. Ramo, who the Panthers beat Feb. 2 here 3-2, will play for the first time since allowing six, third-period goals in the Lightning’s 7-4 loss March 19 to Buffalo.
 
The Panthers, who begin the night three points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will be one of several key games tonight that could determine who makes the playoffs. Every team seeking their eighth spot will be in action this evening.
 
The Bruins, three points ahead of the Panthers and Sabres in the eighth spot and two ahead of Washington, play at Toronto. Washington visits Carolina and Buffalo plays host to Ottawa.
 
The Flyers, in the seventh spot (five points ahead of Florida), play at Madison Square Garden.
 
GM and coach Jacques Martin has been pleased with the fact the Panthers have held each of their opponents to no more than two goals in regulation during their current streak.
 
“When you look at the reason for our success in March, I think it’s fairly simple,” said Martin after Tuesday morning’s skate. “It’s the number of goals we’ve allowed. That’s what has allowed us to get the number of points we have.”
 
Another factor over the past three games has been the team’s penalty killing units, which have shut down their opponent’s 11 power play opportunities.
 
The key tonight, as it was Saturday, according to Martin, is shutting down the Lightning’s top line of Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Jussi Jokinen.
 
“That’s a big part of it,” Martin said. “I thought we did a good job (Saturday) night. I thought most of their chances came on the power play for that line, that unit.
 
“I thought we had a good start Saturday night. We controlled the first period. We were not very good in the second. Penalties got us in trouble. We have to be better tonight as far as staying out of the box, getting some pucks behind their defense, and trying to create some turnovers.”
 
Magnus Johansson, who has an injured left hand but did practice Tuesday morning, will be a game time decision, according to Martin. If he doesn’t play, Martin will go with either Branislav Mezei or Noah Welch.
 
Tomas Vokoun, who made 323 saves Saturday evening, including seven on Lecavalier, will be in the net for the Panthers.

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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