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Cats Battle Bolts In Tampa

Tuesday, 03.25.2008 / 2:31 PM / 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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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