The opponent: Atlanta Thrashers. Coming off a painful 6-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils last night, the Thrashers sit 3 points behind Florida in the Southeast division. Entering tonight's contest on a 6-game losing streak, Atlanta has just 2 wins this season, and hasn't won since October 18th. The Panthers should face another backup in goal, as starter Kari Lehtonen is feeling "under the weather." 2nd stringer Johan Hedburg made the start last night. The Thrashers called up Ondrej Pavelec from their AHL squad. The Thrashers have given up the most goals against in the Eastern Conference, so the Cats' offense should have a chance to get on track.
The Panthers will also be playing their 2nd game in consecutive nights, coming off of a disappointing shootout loss in Nasvhille last night. Defenseman Keith Ballard leads the team in scoring with 10 points, including an assist on Florida's first goal last night. Cory Stillman leads the team in goals with 5, although he's been held entirely off the score sheet since his 3 point night against San Jose on October 24th. I'd love to see Stillman get back to his scoring ways tonight. With Stephen Weiss still out, David Booth and Nathan Horton also need to pick up the pace. The Panthers are relying heavily on them to register points, and while both have 3 goals thus far, but Horton hasn't gotten a point in 3 games, Booth in 5. Think there's a link that the last 3 games have been losses? Tomas Vokoun should be in net for the Cats.
The Panthers won the first meeting of this series, 3-2 in overtime in Sunrise. Game time is 5:00 on Fox Sports.