It's put up or shut up time for the Panthers, who sit in 9th place in the east, 1 spot and 1 point out of the playoffs. Florida has lost it's last 3 games, and while they were able to get a point in 2 of those losses, they need to start winning if they hope to get themselves back in the top 8.
Tonight, the Washington Capitals visit south Florida. The Caps played last night, a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. Washington had a chance to vault themselves into 2nd place last night, as they trail the New Jersey Devils by a single point. Starting goaltender Jose Theodore was pulled last night, so it's anyone's guess who will be in the crease for the Caps tonight. Normally, goalies don't start in back to back nights. But with Theodore getting an early shower, the Caps coach may want to give his #1 a chance to get his confidence back.
It's a full night in the NHL. Florida will be trying to keep pace with the pack, as all teams involved (except Carolina) are in the ice. The Rangers (+2 on Florida) are in Montreal (also +2). Florida just hoping for a regulation end to that one. Buffalo (-2) is in Ottawa. Go Sens Go. The Penguins (+4) host the Thrashers, who are on a 6-game winning streak. Let's hope the ATL makes it 7.
With just 13 games remaning, the Panthers need a full 60 minute effort tonight. Florida has to start stringing some W's together. Bryan McCabe should be back on the ice tonight, wearing the full bird cage to protect his recently repaired mug. With 7 solid defensemen now on the roster, it'll be a tough choice for Pete DeBoer on who sits out. Puck drops at 7:30.
UPDATE Nick Boynton and Anthony Stewart are the healthy scratches tonight. My thoughts? Steve Eminger better start contributing... Boynton was playing well while McCabe was out.