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Keeping The Emotional Level High

Friday, 02.13.2009 / 11:20 AM / Preview
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Keeping The Emotional Level High
The Panthers and Rangers meet for the third time this season. New York won 4-3 in the shootout the last time the two teams played at BankAtlantic Center on November 28th. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

SUNRISE – When they take the ice tonight at BankAtlantic Center against the New York Rangers, the Panthers will be three points – that’s right, only three points – out of fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Coming off emotional victories this week Tuesday against Toronto and Thursday at Carolina, the Panthers will play a Rangers team above them in the standings and one seeking to break a five-game winless streak on the road.

“You’re always concerned with back-to-back games,” said Panther coach Peter DeBoer between meetings Friday morning. “We knew the importance of last night’s game (in Carolina), and it’s not like we’re playing a team tonight that’s below us in the standings.

“We’ve got to get our emotional level right back up to where it was last night.”

The Panthers are 11-3-3 since Jan. 1 and 20-8-7 in their last 35 games. And of the 17 times the Panthers have scored four or more goals this season, 10 of those have come in their last 17 games.

“We’re healthy,” DeBoer said. “The entire first half of the season, through Christmas, we battled injuries at different times with some of our key people. We’re healthy now and we’re able to get some chemistry.”

Goalie Tomas Vokoun’s 42-save performance and fourth shutout of the season earned him one of the NHL’s top three stars Thursday evening in the Panthers 5-0 victory over the Hurricanes. Vokoun is 5-5-1 lifetime against the Rangers with a 2.79 goals against.

The Panthers won at Carolina 5-0 after first period goals from Nathan Horton and Richard Zednik 5:18 apart, and second period goals from Anthony Stewart and Gregory Campbell 12 seconds apart. Michael Frolik also scored.

“I thought (Carolina) came out and controlled play the first 10 minutes of the second period,” DeBoer said. “I thought Stewart’s and Campbell’s goals really backed them off.”

Although he switched line in the third period of Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over Toronto – putting Horton, David Booth and Stephen Weiss back together – DeBoer had Horton back Thursday centering Zednik and Booth and Weiss centering Cory Stillman and Frolik.

“We’ve stayed with the regular lines other than that one period against Toronto,” DeBoer said. “The regular lines had given us points in 11 of 13 games, and we need depth at center with Nathan.”

The Rangers come into tonight’s game off a 5-4 shootout victory Wednesday against the Capitals to break an 0-4-1 skid and had scored just five goals during that stretch. The Rangers were credited with being more physical during the game.

“When things are going tough like they have been for us, that’s how you get out of it and put other teams back on their heels, by playing more physical,” said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who is 7-3 lifetime against the Panthers with a 2.15 goals against.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 0 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 1 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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