The Florida Panthers look to close out a successful January in style, as they head north to take on the New York Islanders tonight. Florida is quickly becoming a hot topic in the NHL, thanks to their recent climb up the standings. The Panthers are 7-1-3 this month, and sit alone in 8th place. A win tonight, coupled with a Buffalo loss would move Florida into 7th.
For the Islanders, it's another story altogether. They have set up residence in the cellar of the NHL, and don't show much signs of moving out anytime soon. Franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro has missed most of the season after a knee surgery, and is already scheduled to sit out the remainder of 2009. The Isles leading goal scorer, Bill Guerin, has just 14 markers thus far. New York has managed to win its last 2 games, and looks to win a 3rd straight tonight for the first time since mid-November.
There's no doubt this could be a trap game situation for Florida. Coming off of impressive wins against Philadelphia and Montreal earlier this week, they head out on the road to take on a team that, on paper, shouldn't stand a chance. It's up to the Cats to bring the same kind of intensity that earned them W's before, regardless of the opponent. Puck drops at 7:00 tonight.